The Internet of Things (IoT) is tossed around as a recent buzz word, but in fact it’s nothing new. In 1989, the first Internet connected toaster was invented. Today, the number of devices that are connected to the Internet have multiplied exponentially. Doorbells, fridges, running shoes, cars, heating systems, traffic signals. If you can name a thing, it is most likely included. Yet, in a world where everything is connected to increase the efficiently of our lives, this also raises many IoT security issues.
IoT is built upon the premise of connectivity. It’s about using automation and smart technology so devices can communicate between themselves. To have everything and anything transferred over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interactions. A smart oven has a camera to see what you’re cooking, monitor it, set the right oven temperature and ensure your dish is cooked properly. The Internet of Things is about having automation to take care of tasks and ultimately to make life easier and safer.
IoT Security Issues Are More Personal Than You Think
Yes, your fridge can remind you to pick up milk, but what does this mean for your personal data?
Privacy is the largest challenge for this connected ecosystem. Many IoT security issues are raised because of how much personal data the devices and systems collect and transmit. The smart thermostat or smart doorbell know when you’re home (and more importantly when you’re not) and the smart fridge knows your email address. This interconnected web is a goldmine for hackers, and as the industry grows, so does the risk.
The large IoT security issue here is that companies are moving forward too fast without building proper security and privacy measures into their IoT systems. The IoT space is currently not large enough for hackers to pay much of their attention to, yet when taken out, hackers are breaching extremely personal information:
- Emails were stolen from a connected fridge to be send phising email scams
- The Context Security Firm took control of Wi-Fi networks through Connected LED light bulbs
- Babies and families were watched through a baby monitor
The IoT ecosystem poses such a large risk because of the attack surface which it creates. As Ben Dickson explains current IoT security issues “more connected devices mean more possibilities for hackers to target us; unless we move fast to address this rising security concern, we’ll soon be facing an inevitable disaster.”
But Really How Does the IoT Affect Me?
The Internet of Things isn’t dependent on a single product or even a few products. It’s the idea that data can be used and transferred to make decisions to better our lives without our input.
It’s estimated that over 50 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020. This is a tremendous expansion and is expected to have a greater effect in both our work and personal lives. From streamlined transportation via connected cars or traffic signals, to monitored health care via fitness trackers or smartwatches, life is already on its way to becoming encompassed to the Internet.
There’s a lot of positive hype, but the IoT security issues aren’t to be taken lightly, especially as healthcare, possibly one of the most private and sensitive areas of our lives, can reap benefits and risks. The healthcare industry will need preventative security measures built into the IoT systems to begin with. Overall, the security concerns that have been raised with IoT must be considered by both individuals and companies moving forward.
The Internet of Things Needs Time to Grow Up
Yes, there are already many products out for purchase in the market, but IoT security issues and the industry itself both need time to mature. Standards must be developed and set, because they aren’t currently in place.
There are potentials for this industry to bridge the gap between physical transports. Experts are even comparing the evolution of the Internet of Things to the development of the Internet itself, which has evolved slowly since 1989.
Are you comfortable connecting your things or are you more concerned about the security risks? Let us know in the comments below!
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