Internet of Things: Risks of Networking

More and more, the so-called Internet of Things takes influence on the daily life of people. However, experts warn that the new technology also bears risks.

More and more of the personal devices collect data of their users, which are partly highly sensitive. Appropriate caution is needed. Picture: Pixabay

Meanwhile, the Internet of Things, abbreviated “IoT”, is inseparably linked to our daily life. Experts distinguish two categories, the industrial IoT in the form of connected production machines and the personal Internet of Things. Users mostly understand IoT as a special technology, like for example loudspeakers with ordering function offered by a big online supplier. However, experts warn that IoT is much more widespread in private life and so are its risks.

The problem lies mainly in the fact that these devices collect data. Not only the loudspeakers mentioned, which are permanently listening to the noises in the room and wait for a command. Also, everyday items like wristwatches, baby-phones or printers now have their own IP address with access to the Internet. Not to mention the smartphone, the indispensable companion for almost everyone. All these devices collect sensitive data, habits and motion profiles of their users. Still, it is not clear whether and for which purpose these data are transmitted to third persons.

Unprotected surveillance cameras

The increasing IoT upgrading of intelligent household technology from the light switch to the heating control system makes the problem even worse. On average, American households are equipped with 13 IoT devices on average. Also in Germany, this number will soon be reached. Besides the unclear handling of personal data by third parties, there is another aspect that should be considered: Ex works, many IoT devices are insufficiently secured against misuse and can be easily attacked by hackers. The deeper the networking of the household is, the more dangerous are such attacks. In the worst case, they can paralyse the entire home. In 2016, a discounter made headlines with a large number of sold surveillance cameras, which were completely unprotected, easily accessible via the Internet and also, delivered the access data for the home network of the users.


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