TechGuard Blog

Are Internet of Things Devices Invading your Privacy?

We all know someone who has all the latest tech gadgets. Technological advances provide endless options to make our lives easier and to help us work smarter not harder.  All of these tech gadgets connect to computer-based systems and exchange data.  There are billions of devices connected to billions of data points, greatly expanding the cyberattack surface. Is the Internet of Things, (IoT’s) putting us at a greater risk of exposing our personal information? For example, there’s an abundance of smart toys on the market, but are they resulting in our children being left vulnerable to information gathering? Gartner Inc. forecasts that 20.4 billion connected things will be in use world-wide by 2020.

Kids with the Coolest Toys

As a result of technology, interactive toys have come a long way, but are they safe? To explain, think about stories you’ve heard about various tech toys like Cloud Pets, Hello Barbie, or My Friend Cayla. Also, maybe you’ve heard stories about the four brands of kids GPS tracker smartwatches, giving their location details or more.

Are they Spying on Me?

Moreover, have you heard the stories about baby monitors that were hacked? For instance, one story was about a stranger who was speaking to a 3-year-old, contributing to his terror of night. The mother walked in and heard someone say through the monitor, “Wake up little boy, daddy’s looking for you.” Cyberattacks can also come from various private sources such as cars, smart phones, and even smart homes. Some of us take pride in how many smart devices we own. However, the more IoT devices we have, the more opportunities for cybercriminals to hack our privacy and devices.

My Personal Assistant, Echo

Furthermore, think about all the commands that you can give Amazon’s Echo or to Google Home. Also, did you know that voice recognition can be fooled? Could your child command Alexa to place an order? One of the reasons many like the Echo Dot is because you can simply command to place an order and have your Amazon account connected. One must ask, “Does the luxury of certain smart devices pose too many risks? How do I secure my IoT’s?”

IoT’s in the Workplace

Employers must also think of all smart devices that are in the workplace: Laptops, I Pads, smart phones, smart thermostats, and more. What can you do to prevent security risks? IoT’s are both in our work environment and our home environment. Here are a few best practice tips to follow to prevent hacks and/or loss of privacy.

Secure Your Internet of Things Devices

  • Enable only the internet feature as needed.
  • Install device updates to improve security of the IoT.
  • In addition to the technical side of security, monitor your children’s activity with smart devices.
  • Take inventory of all your IoT’s so that you can manage them.