Have you heard the term Internet of Things? Well, the Internet of Things (IoT) is real. It’s real useful, real convenient, but unfortunately, it comes with real risk as well.
Internet of Things –
You arrive at home and the door unlocks because the system, sensing the key in your pocket, recognizes you. The lights switch themselves on and your favorite Pandora station starts streaming through the house. The temperature is already perfect, and as you head for the fridge, you notice an alert on the screen congratulating you on exceeding your exercise goals today and you opt for a healthy snack.
No longer just a scene from a movie, this is actually available today thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). Almost anything can be turned on or off now via the internet. An entire industry has popped up to help users create a custom experience designed around their unique needs. Electronic locks, lights, healthcare wearables and household appliances are just the beginning. IoT goes beyond devices you can use to surf the web – it’s a global revolution.
Adapters can transform even the most random appliance into a connected gadget, as well as add new layers of functionality. Cloud software is creating piggy-back connections, resulting in not just a new experience, but a new way of interacting with the data produced. It may all seem impossibly futuristic, but IoT is less about technology and more about enhancing relationships, the relationships between people-people, people-things and things-things.
Millions of people are wearing a Fitbit or Jawbone to track steps and calories, while others are letting their fridge order groceries! The practical applications are almost endless: GPS trackers on pets, home security via webcam, patient monitoring of blood pressure/heart rate, weather monitoring, and remote power points. No more worrying all day if you left the iron on, just push a button on your phone and know for sure it’s turned off.
Of course, with all this connectivity comes risks. While the idea of having your toaster hacked is a bit mind-boggling, technology connected to the internet is open to exploitation. The webcam that allows you to monitor your pets may also allow other people to glimpse inside your home, but only if it’s not secured properly. Unfortunately, it only takes one small gap for a cyber-attack to get through, and once in, all connected devices are at risk.
Having your lights taken over by a far-away prankster may seem like a small risk, but gaps allow them into your computers, phones and other internet connected devices. The part movies skip over is the networking protections which exist in the background, shielding against attacks.
Taking the time to properly secure your IoT device is essential to making sure you get the whole, happy future-tech experience. You should make sure your devices are up to date, secured with strong passwords, isolated from the rest of your network (and devices), and understand any other unforseen threats. If this sounds like too much work, you don’t know how to do it, or just don’t want to, I’m here to help. I’m a fan of IoT devices and excited to see what new things can be done next with them!
Have some IoT devices in your life ?