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The Risks Related to the Internet of Things

The Risks Related to the Internet of Things

Can you picture a world without the internet? Most adults over thirty still remember what life was without the internet. Being connected was not part of people´s every day life. No one needed to “be available” on a 24/7 basis and people didn’t feel like they needed to be in control of something or someone all the time.  However, many of those who grew up without the internet would still agree that it’s hard to imagine life without it currently.  We live attached to our smartphones, with our emails, and social media profiles and all kinds of apps, as if it was a matter of life or death.

Drivers on the highways and roads look down at their phones texting while they are driving, high on their pharmaceutical drugs.  The U.S. has literally become a country full of zombies.

The internet didn´t only change the way people communicate or do business. All the globe has seen the effects in human behavior, lifestyle, culture, etc. For the most part, the changes have been good. But, being connected all the time has serious risks. International private investigators have been witnesses of this phenomenon with the emergence of fraud and scam online. In this scenario, the internet of things has been a matter of discussion in the past few years because although it was the natural step forward in technology, we still do not know how extent it can be or how it may affect us.

The Internet of Things (also known as IoT) is a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. Sounds pretty simple and harmless. But the IoT represents great risks that still need to be attended.  Being connected all the time it important for the government and corporations to track and monitor you, to profit from you and record and sell all of your data.  The zombies are told to share, and they do!

IoT is more than smart homes and connected appliances. It scales up to include, for example, smart cities. Think of connected traffic signals that monitor utility use, and industry with connected sensors for everything from tracking parts to monitoring crops. A lot of important information is being transmitted and daily events depend on how safe the systems that support the devices are kept.

The Risks

The main issue with the IoT is that any device that is connected to the Internet can be hacked. Data is the most powerful resource that modern society has. Any device that can store and transfer information about consumers or that can be controlled over the web is a potential risk. Of course, the risks may not be the same on every device. A night light or a speaker connected to the web may not present real danger. But it does not happen the same with a car, a home security system, a smartphone or some wearables, not to mention industry applications and public services or utilities.

Recently, the FBI and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned that the rising use of computers in vehicles poses increasing risks of cyberattacks, as demonstrated by two hackers on a security experiment. Imagine what an extortionist could do if they gain control over your car while you are driving it!  A recent case showed a vehicle taken over by a hacker.

The methods to hack a device do not even have to be sophisticated. Social engineering has proved to be an easy way to obtain information that can provide access to private information, as seen before with popular celebrity cases. A great amount of users of devices connected to the internet do not know very well how to configure privacy settings, passwords, or what to download or not.

Get Prepared

Internet of Things devices, if controlled by hackers, could lead to physical safety threats. Other risks involve extortion with the information that can be retrieved. Private investigators from Wymoo International advise consumers and businesses to take precautions when connected.

Learn about the privacy settings of your device. If the information is not available in a manual or in the manufacturer´s website, make sure you request the information and set the privacy and safety settings to its highest level.  When you decide to connect to the internet, ask yourself if the benefit outweighs the risks.  Ask yourself if it is really important that you toaster be connected to the internet.  Consider putting your phone down for a day and try to appreciate real life, disconnected.

Do not share or give credentials that could give access to your device to anyone. Many hacks are due to human errors, so keep your eyes open and never agree to hand your credentials to anyone.

Making a responsible use of the IoT can bring a lot of benefits to your life. Just make sure you are indeed prepared to handle your internet connected device.  The more you connect, the more at risk you and your family members are for serious crime, no matter what precautions you take.

C. Wright
© 2016 Wymoo International
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© Copyright 2016 Wymoo International.  All Rights Reserved.  This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States of America and international copyright laws.  Wymoo® is a registered trademark.

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