There is a lot of buzz these days about the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is this concept that all sorts of devices will be connected to each other and will help to improve our work and personal lives in a myriad of ways.
While the concept holds great promise and in fact is already delivering lots of benefits, there is one area that may give cause for concern….SECURITY!!!!
For all you Terminator fans, I’m not talking about the threat of machines taking over the world, but rather the possibility of important and even valuable data being compromised. It is reasonable to think that data security would need to be considered with respect to IoT seeing that all of these devices that are communicating with each other are communicating about our data.
With valuable information being slung over a variety of wired and wireless networking methods, the stage is ripe for hackers, attackers, and bad guys in general.
So what do we do?!?!?
I want to make it clear that one should not ask “Will my data be breached?”, but rather “What can I do to minimize the impact when my data does get breached?”.
It will happen and we should take measures to minimize its impact. Mitigation is our only defense.
1. Be Aware
First, you should be on the continuous lookout for any sort of suspicious activity. Whether this takes the form of logins to your accounts from unknown locations or fraudulent purchases on your credit cards, if you’re not aware that it happened then you certainly can’t do anything to contain the damage.
TIP: Check your account information at a minimum, once a month, but ideally weekly or even more.
2. Be Proactive
In simple terms, don’t be lazy with your passwords!
- Make them complex and change them often.
- Use the special characters and keep them long.
- Change them every few months.
- Keep your passwords varied across your multiple accounts.
I know it is easy to use the same password for everything, but then you are also making it easier for someone who figures it out to gain access to so much more.
3. Be Calm
In the event of a breach, just stay calm and start calling and documenting.
Call your accounts’ customer service or security contacts and document the activities. You may even call your local police department for documentation purposes. The bottom line is that you need to engage with the appropriate contacts quickly.
TIP: Don’t ignore the breach and be sure to change your passwords again!
Now that we’ve gone through all of this, I don’t want you to think that the IoT is bad or fraught with danger. It isn’t — as long as we take simple and practical measures to eliminate the risk of a data breach. The benefits of IoT far outweigh the inconveniences associated with data breaches.
The IoT is here to stay and that’s a good thing, so start mitigating!
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