The Internet of Things – How to be Secure?

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While browsing the internet the other day, I came upon a picture of Mark Zuckerberg
smiling into the camera while he sat at his Facebook workstation. Frankly, the picture meant
nothing to me until I looked in the background and noticed something scary. Mr. Zuckerberg
had his laptop open on his desk and plain as day I could see where he had covered up the built
in camera with a piece of tape. Now, I am no techie but I had heard the stories before about
hackers accessing computer cameras but it didn’t really have an affect, but once I realized the
Mark Zuckerberg was worried enough about it to tape over his camera, that hit home. First, I
went home and put tape over my laptop camera. Then, I started to think about online security.
When it comes to cyber security, most of us think of online shopping. How do we keep
our account numbers safe? How do we protect ourselves from identity theft? These are very
important issues that definitely need our attention, but we also need to look at how to keep
ourselves and our personal information safe from the ever increasing list of things connected to
the internet.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing and there is no end in site. Now we have
wearable devices like fitness trackers, watches and glasses. Other personal items like
thermostats, cameras and security systems,toys, lights and more that are all connected to the
internet and part of the IoT. According to a survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance
(NCSA) 36% of holiday gift shoppers plan to purchase gifts that are connected to the internet.
That’s means a third of the gifts given this holiday season will add to the IoT. These gifts are fun
and exciting but how confident are you that they are secure? The same survey indicated that
62% are “somewhat confident” to “not confident at all” about the safety and security of these
devices. I don’t mind telling you that I was a little lost as to how to protect myself from the IoT.
Sooo, I asked Alexa. I like irony! She told me that 75% of Americans could not imagine their
lives without internet connectivity. That answer seems a bit self serving and suspiciously
evasive if you ask me!
Referring back to the same NCSA survey, here are some precautions consumers are
taking. Creating or changing to a new password before using a device. Trying to understand the
privacy agreement or what information the device is collecting and storing. Reading the
manufacturer information about keeping the device secure. Keeping all IoT devices with apps
up to date with the latest versions. You also shoud research the devices history for any security
or privacy concerns.
Lots more will be coming soon. Your best defense is to pay attention. Enjoy the IOT!
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