Experts suggest that almost all of our technologies will be connected by the internet or link with other technology over a network within the next twenty years. Smart devices will soon feature even more heavily in our daily lives, performing a variety of functions and sharing data over a connected wireless system. Research indicates that there will be around 25-30 billion devices by 2020, ranging from wearable technology to smart cars to energy meters.
With this new technology topic receiving an increasing amount of attention, talk is turning towards what this means in terms of security. And according to a recent article on Tech Radar, which summarises some of the risks involved, the news isn’t looking very good.
Worryingly, a new study from Hewlett-Packard has revealed that 90% of devices collected at least one piece of personal information via the device or cloud. 70% of all devices – including smart TVs, smart phones, webcams and even thermostats – were found to be hackable, with each device typically containing 25 different vulnerable points.
This means that devices are currently lacking in security measures; which is a particular worry when you consider that embedded and wearable technologies are expected to hold vast amounts of information about an individual.
Not only is your personal information up for grabs through your smartphone or other device, but also the equipment could be controlled remotely without your knowledge or permission.
According to TechRadar, manufacturers are continuing a years-long habit of producing pieces of equipment without giving enough thought to the security that might be needed to support them. It’s essential, experts argue, that designers and manufacturers fix these security issues before the vision of everybody living a “connected life” becomes a reality.
On a positive note, most experts feel that there is still time to find solutions to these concerns in the next 5 years or so. It is also important to be aware of these risks yourself, so that you can take effective steps to reducing them. Helpfully, an article on About Home explained some of the ways you can do this, which we have summarised below:
- When you set up a device, follow all the instructions carefully to make sure that you don’t skip any necessary steps.
- Use a password on any device that allows one, even if it seems like an inconvenience. It will improve your security and reduce the risk of hacking.
- Be sure to unplug any devices that are hooked up to the network when not in use. Also, many devices will give you the option of turning the network off when it isn’t needed, such as the “airplane mode” on smartphones.
- Research third-party apps before downloading, to see if they are known to have security issues.
- Use different passwords for each device. Although this seems like a hassle, having one password for all devices means that everything is compromised if one device is hacked.
- Some devices focus more on security than others, so buy devices that have extra security features. This may cost more but is a worthwhile investment.
- Never connect your smart device to an unfamiliar Wi-Fi network. These could be used by hackers to steal information from connected devices.
Following these steps will give you the best defence against hackers, allowing you to enjoy your smart devices with a greater sense of security.