Most people have become familiar with Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices – devices beyond computers, such as TVs, speakers and even refrigerators, that are connected to the internet and to each other.
But since some time has elapsed since this technology hit the mainstream, there are still alarming security holes that must be addressed before consumers can feel secure bringing these devices into their homes and offices.
Over the past few years, numerous reports have detailed the wild exploits that have affected IoT devices.
In 2015, for instance, a pair of hackers took control of a Jeep Cherokee’s onboard systems to show how much damage a malicious attack could cause to the vehicle. Researchers have found vulnerabilities in life saving medical technology, such as cardiac devices and baby heart monitors. Even smart home devices intended to provide security have become security risks themselves.
In a recent exploit of a smart home device, hackers proved their disturbing potential and severely frightened a family by convincing them that the U.S. had gone to war with North Korea. The cyber criminals found a way into the family’s Nest security cameras and used the device to issue warnings of impending missile strikes. Terrified by the dispatches, the family eventually learned from Nest that their device had been compromised by a hacker.
At the current stage of their evolution, smart devices are designed to provide convenience and a certain “wow” factor. Security features, sadly, have been put on the backburner.
But as it becomes increasingly clear that there could be disastrous consequences, tech companies that manufacture these devices must start addressing the need for security and privacy features to protect us.
For the consumer or business that makes use of IoT products, it remains critical to consider any device’s risks and decide whether they outweigh the function. Devices also should be deployed within secure frameworks and serviced frequently to make sure they have the latest patches.