When it first occurred, connecting things to the internet seemed more like a gimmick than anything practical. Remember that fridge that was supposed to know when you need to buy more milk and would email you a reminder? Even though that particular concept still hasn’t really caught on (though it should!) plenty of other things in our houses and workplaces are connected to the web, to the point where we don’t even consider it gimmicky anymore. Cars that can be started via an iPhone app? Sure! Security cameras that text you when they detect motion? Why not? How about thermostats and lighting that can be adjusted via wifi? Done! Except for a “little” problem: this growing “internet of things” is just as bad (if not worse) at security as the rest of the internet. A security study by technology giant HP took a look at the 10 most popular internet-enabled devices and discovered each device had at least 25 security vulnerabilities that could lead to terrible things.
What this means for you:
Most of my clients have a healthy respect (if not fear) of the internet and its tireless ability to invade your privacy, and typically make more informed choices than the general public, but as more and more devices come “connected” right out of the box, it’s easy to fall into the convenience trap of plugging the thing in and moving on to the next item on the to-do list. What this will eventually mean is people are surrounding themselves with devices that, taken as a whole, can provide an incredible amount of detail about their supposed “private” life. And those devices are all connected to the internet. Unless manufacturers starting upping their security standards (or the market forces them to), we may all find ourselves living a rather exposed existence. So the next time you are considering a device that is “internet” enabled, consider whether or not you are ready (and willing) to understand exactly how that device secures itself from hacking, and whether its worth the convenience.
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