What is IoT?
If you’re looking into any tech-related news or articles lately, you’ll recognize the acronym “IoT.” Just about everything is somehow related to IoT or mentioning IoT or hey, maybe they’re just throwing in “IoT” to seem relevant. After a solid two months of scanning article after article and title after title referencing IoT, I had to ask myself: What even is this? I began searching for answers, and this is what I found.
IoT stands for Internet of Things, and it’s referencing everything created today that uses some kind of Internet connection. At first, I thought this wouldn’t be that many devices, but I was definitely mistaken. Take a moment and think about all the devices you own and use on a daily basis that require some sort of connection: smartphone, laptop, desktop computer, tablet, and television are probably the most common devices. Technology and the rise of smart home appliances has been on the rise, now adding items like printers, speakers, security monitoring systems, home climate control devices, light switches, power supplies, and kitchen appliances to the mix.
IoT provides us with abilities we may have only dreamed about. Being able to maintain our homes, our devices, and really anything from any location is convenient and can increase security and quality of life. Forgot to lock your door? Check it on an app. Get an alert from your home security system? Check live video on your tablet. Are you going to unexpectedly miss Dancing With the Stars? Set your recording via your smartphone. The possibilities are endless and infinitely helpful.
However, IoT does increase your risk of hacking. As with anything connected to the Internet, this cannot be described better than in the words of Ben Rossi, who said, “The nature of the Internet’s design – easy accessibility and instant connectivity first, security second – has exposed businesses and consumers to a multitude of potential cyber security vulnerabilities.” The Internet wasn’t designed to be a secure place for data storage; it was created to easily share information and collaborate. When it comes down to it, the majority of issues that we experience related to Internet connectivity and information sharing comes down to this.
It’s not difficult to hack technology. We’ve been seeing it for years. We’ve seen IoT attacked this year with smart cars and computer-enabled cars being hacked by cybercriminals. What’s stopping them from setting your oven too hot and burning down the house, or causing your security technology to malfunction and allowing for a fast and easy break-in? We do so much to ensure make our lives as high tech as possible, yet this can potentially be putting our lives at the highest risk.
How can we stay safe? By taking the same measures we have been and taking them seriously. Anything that can be password enabled should be, and if two-factor authentication is available, use it. Passwords should be strong (for more information on strong passwords, click here) and changed regularly. If there are updates, do so as soon as possible. Don’t store any information in your IoT devices that is not necessary. Make sure any possible privacy settings are programmed accordingly. Know your devices and settings, and if anything looks suspicious, seek advice or help.