• Emma Pacino

The Internet of Things (IoT): Threats and Measures for Prevention


Before considering the risks and security treats, you must first understand what the Internet of Things (IoT) means?


What Internet of Things means


It is a term used for physical objects or things that are enabled with an IP address for connecting to the internet and the communication that occurs between these things or objects and other internet-enabled devices is known as the Internet of Things.


Examples of Internet of Things


The Internet of Things broadens itself from the traditional objects like the desktop, laptop, tablets and Smartphone. With the emergence of technological evolution, everyday objects are embedded with technology to communicate with external surroundings by means of internet. A few examples of the present day Internet of Things objects are – cars, connected security systems, alarm clocks, electronic appliances, vending machines, thermostats, household lights, speaker systems, baby monitors and many more. There are over billions of objects that connect to the internet which can be termed as the Internet of Things.


Why are these objects so important in daily life?


The Internet of Things comprises of objects that help in the daily life of a human being and make it simpler and easier. The baby monitors provide the parents with the activities of their baby on their Smartphone. Wireless chip in prescription bottles helps in reminding to take medicines on time and also refill when empty. Wearing a wireless alarm button can track for any disruption detected in the normal schedule of your loved ones.


Thermostats can reduce the monthly energy usage by keeping track on real time weather forecast and the actual activity in your home. To track down lost keys you can connect it to a wireless Bluetooth device and get its location in your Smartphone. Multi-functional lights help reduce electricity use and also display data to alert you to when you are running late.


Billions of products and appliances like such are available to help people around the world and make it a better place. But have you ever thought the security concerns that rise by bringing home these Internet of Things (IoT) products and appliances.


Threats possessed by the Internet of Things


The ongoing technological revolutions brought about by technologists flaunt the Internet of Things objects to be useful for humans to construct a better world. But with so many inter-connected devices around, it can be a multitude of threats posing to strike in near future.


As the Internet of Things becomes a reality they also possess a threat to us. Like the smart television that keeps a track on your previous views can also be used to understand the viewing habits and passes on data. An example to such a threat was confirmed by the LG, the electronic manufacturer. Stating that some of the smart television models kept track on the viewer’s viewing habits and send aggregate data back to the company for customized advertising purposes. But the television persistently kept collecting data even when the feature was turned off. This means there was an error in the system for which an update is being prepared.


Many inter-connected home appliances and products can be used to spy on the people like the thermostats, television, cameras, kitchen appliances and others. Computer controlled devices are prone to cyber attackers. The sensors used in the wearable devices are more vulnerable to internet attackers. Some of the objects are replete with rare-earth metals and toxic synthetic chemicals which cannot be recycled and hence have an environmental impact.


The best ways to prevent IoT threats


Whenever a product is purchased the security settings of that product must be checked thoroughly. Disable the remote accessible facility of the product if necessary. Default passwords should be changed and common passwords must be ignored.


Keep a regular check on the manufacturer’s website for updates on the device’s software, because if there’s a security threat the manufacturer would patch the software and update it.


Since many of the devices are connected to home network and hence connected to the internet, it’s better to equip the device with a firewall and ensure that it is properly configured and active.


Conclusion


Though the Internet of Things are energy-preservation equipment and are built for the assistance of humans, they also possess threat. Just a few safety measures and the Internet of Things will be effectively working for the betterment of humans.


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