Be Smart About Your Smart Devices

  • Published: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term first introduced to us in 1999 by Kevin Ashton during his time at Procter & Gamble. Since the Internet was the new shiny thing of the time, he thought he would attract attention to a bit of new technology, RFID. 

But it took more than 10 years for IoT to really take off. Today's definition applies itself to the capability of physical objects to be linked (wired or wireless) and able to send and receive data. Thus smart devices were born.

Add machine learning and artificial intelligence to the mix, and we now have devices that can function autonomously and make decisions and suggestions. 

We have so many interconnected devices in our homes now; security cameras, door bells, virtual personal assistants, automobiles, fitness wearables, HVAC systems, light bulbs, appliances--the list goes on and on.

These smart devices have really embedded themselves into our everyday lives. They interact with us and with each other. But where is the weakest link? What precautions are we taking to protect our personal assets and information?

We've all seen the scary videos of baby monitors talking in the nursery to the toddler or smart speakers recording private conversations. What should you do?

These recommendations can be applied to your home network as well as your organization. The key thing is to remember how the IoT devices interact with each other. There are some very basic security practices to keep in mind such as changing default configurations and passwords on the device. Set privacy settings and restrictions.

But don't stop there. Look at your router and firewall to make sure that you have appropriate rules and settings on how these devices do or do not interact.

But don't stop there. Make sure you keep all your devices up-to-date with the latest firmware and patches.

Remember-you are ultimately in control of the security of your devices and network. There is some progress in the development of security standards for manufacturers of IoT, but it's not there yet. Manufacturers design IoT that is low cost, usable and functional. Build, market and sell. You need to be smarter than the smart device you buy.

Resources:
Kevin Ashton Describes "Internet of Things"
7 Scary Internet of Things Hacks and Exploits That Really Happened
Best Practices for Protecting IoT Devices From Security Threats