In our technology-driven world, security is an ever-growing concern. Innovations and trends in technology continue to have a direct impact on digital security. The increasing range of devices and systems connected to the web has brought with it many advantages but also invited a range of malicious forces, exposing users and businesses to a wide scope of threats.
You may have heard of the Internet of Things — a term that refers to the wide range of ‘smart’ devices, which are connected to the web and each other. The development of the IoT brings with it many advantages, but before hooking up every one of your devices to the world wide web, it is important to be aware of pressing security concerns.
What is the IoT?
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated devices that have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction. It refers to the billions of physical devices around the world connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data. We can think of it as a platform that enables devices to interact with each other, carrying out tasks assigned to them.
IoT devices bring with them the ability to simplify the process of managing and operating our homes. Whether it is your living room air conditioner or a sprinkler in your garden, everything that falls under the term IoT can be controlled remotely just with a tap of your finger.
IoT applications are growing in size and variety every day. They range from smart homes and smart farming to car monitoring systems, where the sensors gather and analyze information and then create an action plan.
Security and the Internet of Things
When devices are internet-enabled, your personal data is often left vulnerable to potential security breaches
Dozens of Australian security cameras were recently hacked through a Russian-based server. A website named “Insecam” broadcasted live streams of compromised web-connected security cameras and webcams. The site even allowed people to zoom in and out, and to move the camera around.
The group behind the website did not agree to the accusation of ‘hacking’, saying the cameras’ owners did not have appropriate security enabled on their devices.
Securing your internet-enabled devices
Given the types of personal information that is shared on the web, security should always be one of your top priorities. Here are a few steps that you can follow in order to secure your IoT devices.
- Always use strong and unique passwords for device accounts, Wi-Fi networks, and connected devices. Change passwords regularly and adjust security settings to fit your specific needs.
- When using smart devices, you should be aware of what type of data the device is receiving, how it’s stored, and protected and if it is shared with third parties. Update the device’s firmware and applications so that the device will be protected against known security vulnerabilities.
- Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help you to secure the data transmitted on Wi-Fi. It’s recommended that you utilise the features of incognito mode as it enables you to browse the web without storing data on your browser.
- Be cautious when using social sharing features on apps. Social sharing features can reveal information like your location and let cybercriminals track your movements.
- And finally, install reputable internet security software on your computers, tablets, and smartphones for better security. Norton Security can provide real-time protection against malware, ransomware and viruses.
Online security is an important consideration that we should all be aware of. Always remember prevention is better than damage control and take appropriate steps to secure your online devices.