IoT: If You Connect It, Protect It!
It’s coming and no matter how you feel about it, we are all rapidly hurdling toward a point-in-time when the everyday items we interact with -- the locks on our doors, motion and temperature sensors, employee access control and, of course, the audible and visual content we consume – will all interact with the Internet and use real-time information to provide you an ever-increasing on-demand experience.
It’s called “The internet of Things, or “IoT”. The technical definition of IoT is: “A system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.”
By 2025, it is estimated that over 64 billion IoT devices will connect around the world, with an increasing number used around the home by mainstream consumers. Although these devices offer convenience and ease, it remains the responsibility of the homeowners to ensure the safety and security of the Internet-connected devices in their home. While these devices are already prevalent, the impact of them on our daily lives will continue to grow. We must therefore shift our thinking and take cyber-security as seriously as we do physical security against burglars.
IT CAN ALL COME DOWN TO A LIGHTBULB
In the past, intruders could only break into a building by physically smashing a window or breaking a lock, now they can gain access through a light bulb. That’s right, a light bulb!
A comprehensive surveillance system, such as an alarm or closed-circuit video, offers defense against physical intruders, but it’s equally important to ensure that all smart systems and devices are equally protected.
As more devices connected to the Internet, and increasing devices adapt to voice control, compatible with Alexa or the next big thing, the opportunity for an intruder to gain [virtual] access comes down to the strength of a Wi-Fi password.
ADDING LAYERS OF PROTECTION
Nearly 90% of people in the United States suspect that cybercrime is on the increase and yet, less than half of them believe they are able to protect themselves from such an attack. It’s estimated that over 80% of network intrusions are the result of compromised passwords. As well as using strong passwords, websites, such as Amazon.com and Microsoft offer increasing ways to add an extra level of security, such as multi-factor authentication.
In addition to updating software on a regular basis and managing social media settings here are a few more things you can do right now to protect your business.
Use a full-service Internet security suite. Don’t rely on a free antivirus program to protect you from a cyber-attack. Many of the leading companies, such as Norton, Bitdefender, Mcafee and Kaspersky, for example, provide real-time protection against existing and emerging malware including ransomware and viruses, and help protect private and financial information when you go online.
Keep up to date on major security breaches. Pay attention to the news about the companies you do business with. If you do business with a merchant or have an account on a website that was impacted by a security breach, find out what information the hackers accessed and change your password immediately. Companies like Lifelock will alert you when your data is compromised and warn you to change your password immediately.
Take measures to help protect yourself against identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. How? You might be tricked into giving personal information over the internet, for instance, or a thief might steal your mail to access account information. That’s why it’s important to guard your personal data. A VPN can also help to protect the data you send and receive online, especially when accessing the internet on public Wi-Fi.
Know that identity theft can happen anywhere. It’s smart to know how to protect your identity even when traveling. There are a lot of things you can do to help keep criminals from getting your private information on the road. These include keeping your travel plans off social media and using VPN software when accessing the internet over an airport or hotel Wi-Fi network.
Know what to do if you become a victim If you believe you are a victim of a cybercrime, you need to alert the local police and, in some cases, the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission. This is important even if the crime seems minor. Your report may assist authorities in their investigations or may help to thwart criminals from taking advantage of other people in the future. If you think cybercriminals have stolen your identity.
These are among the steps you should consider.
- Contact the companies and banks where you know fraud occurred.
- Place fraud alerts and get your credit reports.
- Report identity theft to the FTC.
- Call us so we can implement cybersecurity best practices
In honor of National Cybersecurity Month we are offer free cybersecurity assessments through October 31. Contact us to schedule yours.