There’s been a lot of talk about “The Internet of Things” or IoT devices lately. This might seem like another Internet buzzword but, as with most things, it pays to be informed. IoT devices are becoming more and more common and it’s possible to own them without fully grasping the truth about what they are.
“Internet of Things” refers to any device that is capable of communicating with the Internet. Internet connectivity is turning up in refrigerators, thermostats, security cameras…even lightbulbs. Any device that can be managed with a smartphone or a web browser and connects to a network has the capability to connect to the Internet.
What’s critical to ponder here, is just what can an IoT device use the Internet for? Some of this equipment has been found to communicate with the manufacturer to obtain updates or relay statistics. This can pose security or privacy risks for anyone using the devices as well as the Internet in general. In addition to the possibility of IoT devices relaying their location or network details to the manufacturer, vulnerabilities in the devices or the manufacturer’s servers that they communicate with can permit these devices to be utilized for nefarious purposes. In October a coordinated attack was carried out on a Domain Name Service provider using IoT devices. Once upon a time those wanting to initiate these attacks had to infect many computers to do so, which was a lengthy and tedious process. Now, improperly secured IoT devices can greatly simplify the steps required to gain control of large numbers of networked equipment all at once. Without some planning and attention to detail those nifty new automated home gadgets can wind up costing a lot more than cash in the long run.
As always, it’s best to consult with a networking professional before adding any new devices to a network.
published in Business Venture ~ ventureguelph.ca