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Tip of the Week: How to Prepare Your Organization for The Internet of Things

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Most devices that are being produced these days are aiming for the “connectivity” angle, be it simply connecting to the Internet, or allowing you to stay connected to something specific through the cloud. While this does wonders for productivity and online interaction, some users approach these devices without considering the state of online security. October is Cybersecurity Month, so there’s no time like the present to ask yourself how trends in Internet of Things security can affect your organization.

The primary concern for users of Internet of Things devices is that the average consumer, unwary of the dangers of online data collection and theft, might unknowingly be putting themselves and others at risk. There are Internet-connected cars, houses, thermostats, smart watches, and so much more that hackers can potentially gain access to through their Internet connection.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), defines Internet of Things devices as the following:

IoT devices connect through computer networks to exchange data with the operator, businesses, manufacturers, and other connected devices, mainly without requiring human interaction.

While the need for caution is a no-brainer, it’s somewhat ambiguous as to who needs to take responsibility for the security of these devices. Should it be up to the manufacturers, or the user? The IC3 seems to believe that it’s primarily the responsibility of the user to ensure that they aren’t using their devices in a manner which could compromise their safety. Do you agree? ZDNet argues that it’s pretty much impossible to convince everyone of cybersecurity’s importance, primarily because some people just don’t care enough to do something about it until it’s far too late.

The greatest point of contempt for the IC3 statement is probably the fact that they fail to mention anything about vendor responsibility for producing quality, secure devices. It’s a known fact that the average user likely won’t care about optimizing the cybersecurity on their devices until something bad befalls them. Tektonic has taken an active role in spreading best practices and security tips to the ON community to shore up this shortcoming and oversight on the manufacturer’s part.

Even if you’re not a cybersecurity expert, you can take the following steps to maximize your personal security with Internet of Things devices:

  • Only purchase Internet of Things devices from manufacturers who are known to produce security-minded products.
  • Keep your Internet of Things devices up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.
  • Educate yourself on how Internet of Things devices communicate with each other.
  • Change all default passwords to strong passwords that use multiple letters, numbers, and symbols, and change these passwords frequently.

Keep security in mind when you’re purchasing your next Internet of Things device, and always stay vigilant. You need to carefully analyze the risks versus the rewards of using these devices, especially when security is such a major concern. Tektonic can help you understand how these devices work, and what you can do to mitigate the risks that you’ll be targeted by hackers. Give us a call at (416) 256-9928 to learn more.

Date: October 21st, 2015, Author: Jorge Rojas

Toronto IT Support  /  Tektonic Blog  /  Security  /  Tip of the Week: How to Prepare Your Organization for The Internet of Things