The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to transform how we all live. However, one of the biggest issues with the adoption of these devices in our offices and homes is the fact this cutting-edge technology is cutting a corner by using primitive security – passwords.
The problem is that people are buying these devices are often oblivious to what they are capable of, beyond their advertised usage. Who would imagine that an innocent Internet-enabled kettle could provide cyber criminals access to the entire IT network, making it vulnerable to data theft, ransomware attack, take your pick! Especially when it has been estimated that 4.79 billion people worldwide have access to and use the internet frequently, (click here to learn more). That’s a lot of cyberattacks that could happen to people and they might not even be aware of it until it’s too late. Or, that a child’s doll (recently banned in Germany) could potentially be used to spy on people, which as a parent is a terrifying thought.
Last month, a Horizon documentary took the possible impact of compromised IoT devices to the extreme. Imagine the world where the masses have smart devices that control not only their kettles but also their heating, hot water etc. If a nation state, or criminal network, wanted to cause an effect, it is feasible that they could buy a list of default passwords on the black market and at will switch everything on remotely causing a huge surge on the national grid.
Did you know that one in four broadband users have never changed their router password? So, it came as no big surprise when earlier this week it was reported that 15% of IoT device owners do not change the default password. Even if a router has been recently installed within the home, the idea of setting a Netgear router login and password (if this is the brand that you have) is very important. Security on an internet router prevents many issues such as hacking.
OK, the good news is that 85% of people are taking precautions (early adopters of these devices are likely to be more tech savvy and security aware). What’s more, I strongly suspect of those that have changed the password, many didn’t opt for a so-called ‘strong’ password, and fewer still are changing them on a regular basis. But, the fact is that vast numbers of IoT devices are creating open doors to home and corporate networks and the problem is only going to get worse as the market grows.
New IoT innovation needs to be complemented by similarly forward-thinking security protocols, that makes it quick and easy for the owner to administer. The reliance on passwords, which are seen by most people as a necessary evil, is, in my opinion, the lazy option (almost an afterthought) and it is brewing up a whole world of trouble in the long run if it isn’t resolved soon.
IoT is about doing things differently, better, more efficiently and helping us to work, play and run our daily lives. That philosophy needs to be built into every aspect of these devices including security, if you’re wanting to utilize the new surge of IoT devices but your internet service provider is now sub-par, you could look at how to get cheap internet and you can find the fastest package that suits your needs.
Quality services are being offered, like the installation of the Crestron av system, to integrate smart devices and automation into the home. Smart home devices are shaping up to be an integral part of our day to day lives and they are quickly becoming the norm.
Author: Steven Hope, CEO of Authlogics