Connecting everything to the Internet is dangerous

By now, you’ve probably encountered the term “Internet of Things”, usually abbreviated as IoT. It refers to the rapidly increasing number of devices that are capable of connecting to the Internet. Cars, fridges, thermostats, lights… basically, anything that can be built to include a few microchips can be made to talk to the Internet. Usually wirelessly. Often silently, by default.

Which of course is a perfect scenario for a whole new category of security breaches, privacy concerns, and other, related issues.

Recommendations:

  • Where possible (and unless you have a good reason not to) avoid purchasing any non-computer device that’s Internet-capable.
  • If you must use such a device (and unless you have a good reason not to) disable any Internet-related features.
  • If you’re unable or unwilling to disable a device’s Internet features, at least configure it to maximize security.

Bruce Schneier’s recent analysis of the dangers of IoT is excellent, and definitely worth reading.

About jrivett

Jeff Rivett has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s. His first computer was an Apple II+, built by his father and heavily customized. Jeff's writing appeared in Computist Magazine in the 1980s, and he created and sold a game utility (Ultimaker 2, reviewed in the December 1983 Washington Apple Pi Journal) to international markets during the same period. Proceeds from writing, software sales, and contract programming gigs paid his way through university, earning him a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree at UWO. Jeff went on to work as a programmer, sysadmin, and manager in various industries. There's more on the About page, and on the Jeff Rivett Consulting site.

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