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Cyberthieves Starting To Zero-In On Internet of Things

Posted on May 06, 2019

Turn on the lights. Open the front door. Set the home-security system. Heck just start the car. The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken over our lives.

Nearly everything is controlled by the Internet in some fashion. The fridge, the thermostat, toothbrushes, coffeemakers, medical devices. You can’t even use the bathroom without the IoT lurking.

IoT has brought more convenience into our lives. We have grown to rely on this technology rather than appreciate it. We allow Alexa to listen to our private conversations, and we consider it a small hindrance because it makes life easier. Our televisions are watching us, for God’s sake. And do we care? No. Why get off the couch to plug in your streaming stick, when your TV does it for you?

IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017, topping the world’s population for the first time. These devices are expected to surpass 20 billion by 2020.

Soon enough, you won’t need to get out of bed.

IoT technology was discussed as early as the 1980’s. High-tech’s top minds were envisioning a world, where cheap processors had enough power to fuel sensors to connect billions of devices. It was only a matter of time before technology caught up to the idea.

British MIT professor Kevin Ashton coined the phrase “Internet of Things” in 1999, although it took nearly a decade to see his vision become reality. The creation of the smartphone in the mid-2000’s helped launch the IoT into our lives, and it hasn’t slowed since. Apps rule our days. Our location can be found within seconds. Our data is spread widely across the world, we don’t need to think about where to eat or what to purchase at the store. Our devices already know and help us make our decisions.

This accessibility seems priceless, but it doesn’t come without a cost. The IoT has quashed our thinking and resulted in us relying too much on our devices, which leads to where cybersecurity fits into this issue.

IoT devices are prime targets for hackers, small or large. What’s worse, governments infiltrate our networks and steal our data. IoT doesn’t rely on human intervention. Information is constantly being shared through sensors and cloud services, spreading our data throughout cyberspace, waiting to be stolen, destroyed or held hostage.

Smart Homes seem cool and great to show off to our friends, but we’re only giving the bad guys more reasons to snoop. Sending a virtual key to a friend to pick up something at the house is a convenience, but it’s not so fitting if a breach keeps you from entering your home.

But there is hope. There are ways to improve security on your devices. Managed services providers could become the lifeline homeowners need to keep their devices from becoming a hindrance. MSPs are in the early stages of offering security protection to private citizens. The business model mirrors that of a home-security system that protects you from physical home invasions.

“People don’t realize that as we become more reliant on technology, our homes are becoming small businesses,” said cybersecurity specialist, researcher and former MSP owner Zoe Rose, who labeled the service “home as a business.”

A managed services provider, Techsperts, located in Jacksonville, Florida, has begun actively promoting residential managed services.

“Most of our customers are small-business owners and directors, and keeping them operational at home is just as important as at work,” Techsperts owner Robert McNicholas said in a Smartermsp.com article.

So, don’t let comfort shroud your decisions, and don’t allow the term “smart device” to become an oxymoron. Stay sharp and avoid complacency. It will allow you to rest more easily as an individual and/or business owner.

To discuss security strategy, email Security Analyst Frank Verdecchia at fverdecchia@apogeeits.com.


Tagged IT Services, Internet, IOT, Cyber, Cyberthieves

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