It was the stuff of headlines. A “smart” Jeep careens down the road, and suddenly the driver no longer has control. As analysts watch, hackers, miles away, take control of the Jeep and make it do their bidding. Suddenly, mass hysteria erupts, as consumers picture themselves driving out of control vehicles in a style that matches the movie Speed.
This demonstration did what it was intended to do – it drew attention to the vast security risks raised when we connect everything, including our cars, to the Internet of Things. But is the real risk the risk of having a hacker take over you car? I say that it's not. Yes, we do need to make sure that several tons of metal are not sent careening down the road under someone else's control, but the real risk is far more personal.
If a hacker can take control of a Jeep, what's to stop them from taking control of your oven? We already have examples of hackers spying on children from connected baby monitors. What happens when the hacker goes a step further and takes that baby from her crib in a tech-savvy kidnapping?
Some examples are a bit more humorous, but still disturbing. When we make everyday items, like toilets and ovens, “smart,” we open the door to personal invasions of privacy. Imagine sitting on the commode, only to have the “flush” feature remotely accessed through a hacker. Or, imagine your smart refrigerator giving a hacker access to your private documents on your computer.
These are the types of vulnerabilities that must be addressed in the Internet of Things. The Jeep demonstration did us a service by pointing out the danger, but the fact is that the true risk is far more personal. When you bring connected devices into your home, you are giving would-be thieves the go ahead to hack those items and access your home.
So what is the solution? The Internet of Things is bringing a number of techy gadgets into our lives, but we need to proceed with caution. Before opening our homes to the Internet of Things, we must ensure that security measures are in place. We must demand standardization of security across the Internet of Things. Without it, too much is at risk. So before you open your home to a smart stove or buy another fitness tracker, take a look at the security. Make sure your home is safe, and then enjoy the technology that the Internet of Things provides.
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