More electronic devices will soon connect to the internet, providing more convenience and information, but this internet of things also brings new security risks, according to security provider Malwarebytes.
Privacy issues top the list of concerns. Devices that include always-on cameras and microphones are prime targets for hacking by criminals hoping to steal or just harass consumers.
Those with smart appliances essentially agree to data collection and sharing when they make their purchases. Some smart refrigerators, for instance, keep track of what kinds of food you buy and can be integrated into applications to purchase groceries online. Televisions can keep track of what you are watching, and AI-powered devices like Alexa and Google Home keep a record of your search history. Depending on the fine print, that data can then be used to send you targeted ads or be sold to big data analysis companies.
As connected devices become more mainstream, vulnerabilities can and will arise that allow hackers to take control. Cars with automatic driving capability, for instance, opens the door for tech-savvy criminals to take over and ransom the vehicle back to the owner or even cause a crash. Recently, it was discovered that baby monitors can allow hackers to watch or speak to sleeping children. A strong password for these seemingly innocuous items is essential.
Internet-enabled security cameras acted as a backdoor to attack service providers like Twitter, Netflix, and CNN.
Consumers must remember there is usually very little protection built into connected devices. Instead, device safety depends on the security of the home network, where strong passwords and security are essential.
Before you buy an internet connected device, make sure it doesn’t have a generic username and password. These are usually posted somewhere on the dark web, just an invitation to a hacker.