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Cyber Security Series: Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things

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“Alexa, set a timer for ten minutes.”

Until four years ago, this phrase would sound like a request to another person in the room. Now, however, it is widely recognizable as a command to an Amazon Echo. Along with the Google Home, Apple’s HomePod, and other smart home speaker systems, the Amazon Echo recently entered the consumer market as another device operating on the Internet of things, or IoT.

The Internet of things is the network of items that are connected to and usable through the internet. IoT consumer products include the previously mentioned smart speakers, along with smart watches, remotes, alarm systems, and more. The IoT also applies to industrial and enterprise technology, like speed limit signs that change depending on traffic or sensors that monitor shifts in environmental factors like air or water quality.

Many of these devices make life easier, allowing us to delegate tasks to computers that we otherwise would do ourselves or not accomplish. At the same time, however, the connection to the internet that makes these devices so useful is the very connection that makes them potentially dangerous. We often assume that the internet only goes one way—our devices receive the information we need. In fact, without the proper security, the internet can work the other way, and hackers use the internet to reach our devices and violate our security.

Steve Hines, president of ThreatAdvice, notes that “The pace of product development for Internet of things devices has far surpassed the concern for the security around these devices. They are the new attack vector for the bad guys, and you cannot ignore the security (or lack thereof) of your alarm system, thermostat, or baby monitor.” Ensuring that devices in our homes and businesses are properly secured ensures that our information is ours alone and is not open to hackers through its connection with the internet.

One way to keep your company secure amidst the threat of security gaps in the Internet of things is to only purchase IoT items through reputable vendors, and ensure that these items are not only functional but also secure. Also, for existing IoT devices, ensure that all security patches are up-to-date. Review current IoT devices and disconnect any items that are no longer used. Also, prohibit employees from connecting their personal IoT devices to the company wifi. These tactics will assist you in keeping your company secure from cyber threats through the Internet of things.

 

For any questions regarding security or risk in your home or business, or if you would like to learn more about cyber liability insurance and how it protects your business, contact a Cobbs Allen Risk Consultant today.

ThreatAdvice prepares employees to prevent a cyber-attack on your organization. They offer cyber security employee training and risk assessment online to promote awareness and prevention. If you are interested in learning more about cybersecurity education and assessment, contact ThreatAdvice and take advantage of their complimentary 90-day trial.