We live in the era of the Internet of Things, in which many times we sacrifice privacy for convenience. We review the main dangers associated with connected devices of all kinds.
Home automation systems, smart TV, smart plugs, smart speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Home, bulbs connected to WiFi, connected appliances … We live surrounded and interconnected to a growing number of gadgets designed to improve the well-being and the quality of life, save energy and money, solve doubts or enjoy a personalized leisure.
In the United States 6 out of every 10 inhabitants have at least one device connected, with smart TVs being the most popular, very vulnerable to wireless cyber attacks. Many of them are permanently on, while others connect to smartphones, computers or tablets throughout the day, at least once every 24 hours. If you have a smartwatch, 68% connect to gadgets once a day, followed by the connected car (65%) or health wearables (64%).
Cybercriminals can access your IoT devices at any time, using them for multiple perverse purposes, such as hacking other connected gadgets, sending malicious emails or spam, stealing your private data, compromising your physical security -sequences, thefts, connected vehicle accidents- , ask for a ransom through cyber-extortion or interfere in your financial transactions. With poor security settings and hard-to-patch firmware, IoT devices are extremely vulnerable to attack, something that worries experts, businesses and users alike.
The following infographic captures the reality of the risks related to connected devices, caused by various issues such as the Universal Plug and Play protocol (UPnP) -employed when a device is connected to a network remotely, whose process is automatic and does not require authentication-, the default passwords -easily detectable- or the difficulty of detecting hacks.
To keep your network secure, it is essential to isolate IoT devices in a dedicated and protected network, disable the UPnP protocol in routers, acquire gadgets from manufacturers with a good safety record, update security patches, set your passwords and make them unique to each device and make sure your WiFi router has a secure password and secure encryption.
All these tips are not snotty if we take into account that some of the problems of the IoT is that it lacks a technical standard throughout the industry: there are more than 50 separate standards in development, with requirements, specifications and guidelines determined independently. Currently, the Internet of Things has already connected twice as many devices as live people. Are your devices safe?