In June 2000, LG launched the world’s first internet refrigerator, the Internet Digital DIOS. Smart refrigerators are advancing quickly and offer convenient features like the ability to control temperature from your mobile phone, detect malfunctions and even track expiration dates of perishable products. Internet refrigerators are designed to employ complex functions to deliver daily convenience. But what happens when your life hack device starts actually hacking your personal life?
Products like the smart refrigerator are increasingly receiving reports of security breaches. Internet of Things (IoT), an extension of internet connectivity that extends to devices and everyday objects, is advancing at a lightning fast speed leaving a gaping margin where cybersecurity has often been overlooked. You are sure to set a password for your home’s wifi but what is the equivalent security protocol for something like a smart refrigerator, baby monitor or doorbell? Robbers are associated with a physical break-ins, entering your home through a broken window with a crowbar, but cyber hackers use less invasive, and therefore less visible, tactics. Cyber attacks can happen without any sign of entry. It may be scary to think about but hackers can gain access and visibility into your personal life weeks before they are detected.
In addition to IoT having security vulnerabilities, hackers have a lot of proverbial arrows in their quiver. Phishing email scams, complex spyware deployed in your network, tactics targeting out of date software, you name it and hackers have figured out a way into your devices. Devices that don’t have interfaces and diagnostic tools (like smart fridges and baby monitors) to identify if something is wrong are the most dangerous because there are fewer ways to tell if it is being used by a third party. This means that hackers could be compromising IoT devices long before any detection.
It is crucial to understand that there is no such thing as perfect software with perfect security. Software development will have gaps but companies are actively working to address this issue. A recent article from Hacker Combat Community states, “Software development companies today understand that they can try to prevent IoT device hacking and also reduce development cycle time if they embed security experts into the software development teams. This could help evaluate potential attack surfaces of IoT devices in the development stage itself.”
There are multiple safeguards that can be used to protect yourself and your devices from being compromised. We advise starting with updating all of your devices. Using the most recent updates of the software will often patch many of the holes hackers are climbing through. Check your network as well. Make sure your device is on a closed, secure network that requires a somewhat complex password. Never connect to an open Wi-Fi network, as anybody in Wi-Fi range including cybercriminals have access to these networks. Finally, frequently change username and passwords. This helps deter hackers from gaining access to your network and devices.
Cyber criminals have an array of tools to corrupt peace for internet users. As technology advances, hackers’ ability to find loopholes around security also expands, despite manufacturers best efforts to provide impenetrable devices. It is imperative to take necessary precautions in an effort to avoid having an unknown target set on your devices from malicious cyber hackers. Confronting the security of your IoT devices with a meaty approach will aid in keeping hackers on ice and off your helping hand devices.