Cyber experts at Geonode are warning users to be vigilant around their devices. Imagine living in a home where you can control the thermostat with your voice, or a fridge that can order groceries for you. Sounds like the future, right? Well, the future is already here, thanks to the Internet of Things, or IoT for short. But, while these smart gadgets make our lives easier, they also come with their own set of dangers.
“Smart gadgets can make our lives so much easier, but they also come with risks. By knowing what those risks are and how to protect ourselves, we can enjoy all the benefits without worry. Remember, a little awareness and a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping you safe,” said Cyber expert at Geonode, Harry Stipkins.
What are IoT Devices?
IoT, or the Internet of Things, is just a fancy term for gadgets that connect to the internet. Here are some examples you might have in your own home:
- Smart Speakers: Like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, which can play music, answer questions, and control other smart devices just by hearing your voice.
- Smart Cameras: Security cameras that you can control and view from your phone.
- Smart Refrigerators: Fridges that can track what’s inside and even order groceries online for you.
- Smart Thermostats: Devices like the Nest that let you control your home’s temperature remotely.
- Smart Doorbells: Video doorbells that show you who’s at the door, no matter where you are.
- Fitness Trackers: Like Fitbit or Apple Watch, which track your health and activity.
These gadgets are super handy, but the problem is, that many of them are not as secure as we’d like them to be.
What could go wrong?
Many of these gadgets come with simple passwords that anyone could guess. Sometimes, you can’t even change these passwords, making it a piece of cake for people with bad intentions to access your stuff.
Just like your phone or computer, these gadgets need updates to stay secure. But unlike your phone, they don’t always update themselves automatically, leaving them open to attacks.
Weak Security Measures
These devices often don’t have the same level of security that we’re used to with our smartphones or computers. That means the information they send and receive could be easily intercepted by people who know how.
Not Knowing Any Better
Let’s face it; not all of us are tech-savvy. Many people don’t realise that these convenient gadgets can be a security risk, so they don’t take the simple steps needed to make them safer.
What Can Cyber criminals do?
If someone gains access to your smart devices, here’s how they can mess with you:
Take Over Gadgets: They could control large groups of these devices to overwhelm and shut down websites.
Steal Personal Information: Devices like fitness trackers store a lot of personal information that could be stolen.
Hold Devices for Ransom: Imagine not being able to use your smart thermostat or doorbell until you pay a fee. Yep, that can happen.
Spy on You: With access to your smart cameras or microphones, someone could spy on you in your own home.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Don’t worry; you can still use these gadgets safely by taking a few simple steps:
Change the Default Password: The first time you set up your device, change the password to something only you would know.
Update the Software: Make sure to keep the device’s software up-to-date. Check the manufacturer’s website for updates.
Turn on Extra Security: If the device has an option for extra security, like two-step verification, turn it on.
Use a Secure Wi-Fi Connection: Make sure you connect your devices to a Wi-Fi network that’s protected by a strong password.
Stay Informed: Keep an eye on news about the devices you own, so you’re aware of any new risks or required updates.