Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things

Laura BednarCybersecurity, Vulnerabilities

Internet of Things IoT Cybersecurity Risks Threats

The time we live in today is internet connected, but it wasn’t always that way. This side of twenty-five years ago, it was expensive, rare, and difficult to be connected to the internet. You were considered fortunate to have a wired, desktop computer that ate up your phone line and took eight minutes to connect. If you were very lucky, you could play games on it (here’s to you, Flight Simulator). Today, my mobile device can remotely toss treats to my dog, draw an image on my toast, and receive a reminder from my garbage can that I need to buy dog treats and bread. A Petcube, Toasteroid, and GeniCan are just a few examples of Internet of Things (IoT), a phrase that was unknown to many twenty-five years ago.

IoTs are any object or device that can connect to the internet. While a “smart” toaster or garbage can may not be the most desired objects across the world, IoTs play a huge role in our everyday lives–from our cars, to our home, to our mobile devices, and more. When you live in an age where your light bulbs, thermostats, and watches are connected, understanding the risks these connections impose is more important than ever. To close out our series for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, SecureData summarizes the importance of being Cyber Smart in a world packed full of things that connect to the internet.

Internet of Things is Everywhere

By the year 2020, it is projected that there will be over 30 billion IoT devices available in the marketplace. The intent of these devices is the same as most all inventions over time: to make tasks easier and in turn, make life better. IoTs make information readily available to us right when we need it. They are often simple to use and may increase productivity (or decrease productivity, depending on how you look at it). Overall, IoTs primarily aim to provide a better quality of life for the users.

No matter how unique (toaster) or how useful (dog treat dispenser), all of these devices come with two fundamental features:

  • 1. The ability to connect to the internet.
  • 2. The ability to put your data, your safety, and your privacy at risk.

Risk from IoTs is Real

As part of our series, SecureData investigated multiple cybersecurity issues. With each issue, people are using IoTs and potentially placing themselves, their data, and their employers at risk from cybercriminals. Whether you’re at home, at work, or traveling, it is very likely that you are accessing the internet from a device.

While you access the internet with ease, cybercriminals are accepting the challenge of trying to get your data. From our online shopping (ecommerce), to our activities on social media, and most everything in between, cybercriminals look for our weaknesses and vulnerabilities in attempts to steal credit cards, identities, personal information, and even our data itself. Whether it is through the lack of security protocols or a phishing email scam, they will stop at nothing to access and steal our information for their own personal gain.

The Truth is in the Numbers

Even though we face increasing cyber threats, we can’t always avoid using things that can connect to the internet. We depend on the internet and we’re comfortable using it every day. Statistics show that the connectivity between devices and the internet is not decreasing anytime soon. These numbers prove that people are actively on the world wide web, and as a result, exposing their personal lives and their sensitive data to the other millions of users.

  • There are 4.3 billion people in the world that use the internet. Of those, 3.9 billion use a mobile device to access it.
  • By 2020, it is projected that over 272 million people in the US will have a smartphone, up from a mere 62 million in 2010.
  • There are 3.5 billion people in the world that are active social media users. Of those, 3.4 billion are active from their mobile device. In America alone, seven out of ten people have at least one social media account.

As our interactions with and on the internet increase, our lack of awareness of the risks is something that cybercriminals rely on. Set strong passwords and security measures to keep you and your data protected. Understand the potential risks involved with each new device you add to your life and know how to set up devices safely. Learning about the cybersecurity risks that plague the internet around you allow you to safely benefit from all it has to offer.

Secure Data provides data recovery, hard drive and RAID repair, computer forensics and other professional media services throughout the United States. Our industry certifications, experienced engineers, and award-winning SecureDrive and SecureUSB products prove we offer the highest quality and services available today. Call 1-800-388-1266 to learn more about our data protection services and products.