It’s 5 PM, and you’re on your way back home from work in your self-driving car. It takes you 30 minutes to get home. You press a button on your phone, and the AC unit starts cooling the dining room. Five minutes before you get home, the coffee maker starts brewing a fresh drink, and an aroma fills up the kitchen. You arrive in your driveway, press a button, and the garage opens. You park, drink the coffee, and start preparing dinner in a chilled room.
The Internet of Things makes all of this possible. Every device is linked to the Internet, from a wireless printer to a self-driving car. It makes life easy, but there’s a hidden danger. There are major cybersecurity challenges. Yet, there’s no need to worry. There are solutions to those challenges to make a truly connected world.
The good thing about IoT is that everything is connected. The bad thing about IoT is that everything is connected.
Data can pass from one device to another in seconds. It travels from your phone to the web and to the cloud. But if someone intercepts the communications or the data leaks, hackers can wreak havoc. All it takes is one of your devices to fall prey to an attack, and your entire network will become compromised.
In one experiment, cybersecurity experts set up an unprotected smart home device. It got attacked 12000 times in a week.
Old hardware and software
Companies are always trying to push out the newest thing. Think of Apple. Every year they’re releasing a new iPhone. The trend spread to the entire sector, and it’s common for companies to build new devices instead of paying attention to the safety of older ones.
Most smart home devices don’t get a lot of updates. Some never even get an update. Sure, the products you buy are safe when they’re new, but they become vulnerable over time. The more time a hacker has to tinker with a gadget, the better they will be at breaching it.
All it takes is an IP address, and they can start messing with you. You might be wondering what can someone do with your IP. They can find your geographic location, perform a DDoS attack, hack your devices, and pretend to be you online.
It’s hard to know if a device is hacked
Let’s say your wireless printer gets hacked. It won’t print a message on a piece of paper that it’s been breached. The same is true for other IoT devices. That’s one of the biggest challenges for having a smart home. The larger the range of devices, the more entry points for a hacker, and the more difficult it becomes to notice they’ve been breached.
You can prevent close to 100% of attacks if you use a firewall, VPN, an antivirus and if you routinely change your router and device passwords. Every IoT device connects to the Internet through the router. That’s why you need to protect and secure the network. A combination of tech tools does wonders for cybersecurity.
Most people who use a DIY method to install their smart home devices leave the fabric username and password. That’s the only mistake that has no remedy. Make sure to change both in the installation process.
IoT companies don’t share too much information with one another. Of course, they’re competitors. Why would Facebook go to Twitter to talk about their issues? The reason is that everyone is affected by possible threats.
If IoT companies introduce data and security analytics, hackers would be stopped dead in their tracks. Suspicious activity, malicious attempts, and irregularities will be collected from every domain. Then, experts can fix the problems collectively. The point of the Internet of Things is for everything to be connected. By analysing, correlating, and gathering data, that will become possible.
Ulrike Niemann is an experienced content marketing specialist at PR Consultancy. In her spare time – she works as digital marketing freelancer, who deals with all things tech, privacy. She is a cybersecurity enthusiast, independent researcher, and contributor to various geeky domains.