Danger lurks in the “Internet of Things”

In How the Internet of Things Opens Your Home to Cyberthreats, the article begins by stating that “Frankemeat” isn’t the only thing you have to worry about in your refrigerator.  And in our ever-connected world, what sounds like science fiction may (or, perhaps has) become science fact.  Maybe you want your refrigerator to send a message to your Android phone that you’ve run out of milk, but there’s a danger in that.  And that is that the same refrigerator that allows you to key in a list of items to purchase at the grocery, and sends it to your smartphone, must have an IP address to do it.  And any device that has an IP address and is not secured can be susceptible to malware.  I’m not sure what a hacker would do with your refrigerator itself, but just think if you posted what you thought were seemingly confidential notes on your refrigerator’s “notepad.”  A hacker could gain access to that list.

The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing.  More and more seemingly unconnected machines are becoming connected.  You just have to have a new car that allows you to connect to Facebook (forget the safe driving, driving while distracted issues for a minute), or Pandora.  How do you think that car’s console is going to make that connection?  Your car has an IP address.  What if a hacker gets into your onboard computer, and just shuts down your car while you’re driving?  OK, so that’s somewhat unlikely.  But you had to sign into Facebook, even in your car, with your userid/password combination.  And now what happens if a hacker, and especially a criminal hacker, can access that information.  All of a sudden, information that you thought was secure has now been compromised.

So before you start connecting all of your “things” to the Internet, you had better think about how you’re going to secure them.  Or . . . alternately, don’t connect them in the first place.