Technology is constantly evolving and as the evolution continues, everyday people require an increasing amount of personal property to be shared with other people and businesses’ electronic devices. This is exemplified through the dependency our culture has developed with our smartphones. Objects that were once used simply for placing and receiving phone calls have become vehicles for text messages, tools to keep us organized with lists and reminders, and to also help us retrieve our email messages while granting us access to the Internet. Cellular phones keep us connected to the world and have become part of the Internet of Things (IoT).
The IoT goes beyond obvious devices such as phones and tablets and extends to any machines that engage in machine-to-machine (M2M communication) such as heart monitoring implants, car sensors, and biochip transponders. All of the available information surging through our devices requires us to act with prudence and enact a set of best practices to follow in order to make sure our identities and information remain safe.
The FBI put together a list of some additional IoT devices:
• Security systems, including video monitors in nurseries
• Wearable fitness devices
• Smart refrigerators or TV’s
• Fuel monitoring systems
One of the best courses of action, before you begin using any IoT device, is to make sure it is secure and will not harm your system or information. The FBI also pointed out, “devices with default passwords or open Wi-Fi connections are an easy target for cyber actors to exploit.”
Be sure to password protect all devices with strong passwords.
In addition, Dell suggests the following four strategies to make sure you are safe and secure while accessing IoT devices.
Put security first
As with all Internet activity, it is vital that everyone acts within the framework of keeping information secure; IoT is no exception to this rule. When IoT is developed, security is rarely a major consideration. So, it is incumbent upon the users to make sure their information is secure. Anyone who uses an IoT device should make sure their information is encrypted from either the data center or the cloud all the way through to the end point. Using a holistic approach that includes addressing endpoint security, network security, and identity and access management. People who utilize IOT devices should also be aware of the devices they use to collect data to make sure they are secure and not accessible by hackers.
Research your devices
Before you use any IoT device for accessing your system, make sure you research it thoroughly. Don’t use any device before you know what it does and how it does it. Knowing what the devices do and understanding how they access information is an important aspect of remaining safe. It is also vital to know who the ultimate owner of the information collected from the device is.
Audit your network
It is important to have a strong grasp on how your network is running. Perform an audit of your networking system to know exactly what is accessing the system, when it is doing it, and what it does when it sees data. This will allow you to make any changes that are necessary to increase your security. Although this step is of utmost importance for a business, any individual using a network of devices is advised to audit that network as well.
Compartmentalize your traffic
The best way to keep every device safe is to employ a “no-trust” policy. All IoT devices should be on a separate network rather than someplace where they can interfere with corporate data.
The Federal Trade Commission also emphasizes the importance of data security when dealing with IoT devices. They suggest taking these additional actions as a course of best practices when using IoT devices:
Both businesses and consumers need to be careful about the amount of data that is accessible through the use of IoT devices. Companies need the flexibility to maneuver around new uses of data, but it must be balanced with limiting security risks to both the company and its customers. Minimizing the amount of data that is collected and used through IoT devices helps to preserve the privacy of customers and also helps to prevent a data breach.
Notice and choice
It is within the best interests of a company to provide customers with disclosures and choices in regards to the information for which they ask. However, it is important for consumers to be cognizant of what is being asked of them and understanding about why the information is requested and for what purpose it is being used.
Modern technology is going to continue to advance, and we, as a culture, must advance with it. As we progress with technology, we must be aware of how we access information through electronic devices can affect us. As long as we use the Internet of Things, it is important to be mindful of the security risks involved and know how to combat them.