IoT Security and the Internet of Forgotten Things: Protecting Yourself in a Connected World

The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the way we interact with technology in our everyday lives. From smart home devices to wearables and industrial machinery, IoT has transformed the way we live and work. However, as more and more devices become connected to the internet, the issue of IoT security has become a critical concern. This is especially true when it comes to the “Internet of Forgotten Things” (IoFT), which refers to the vast number of connected devices that are no longer updated or maintained by their manufacturers.

What is IoT Security?

IoT security refers to the measures put in place to protect connected devices, networks, and data from unauthorized access, theft, or damage. This includes ensuring that the devices themselves are secure, that the networks they use are protected, and that the data they generate is kept confidential.

Why is IoT Security Important?

IoT security is essential because of the large amount of sensitive data that connected devices generate and transmit. This data can include personal information, financial data, and sensitive business information. Therefore, IoT devices can be vulnerable to hacking and malware attacks, which can compromise their functionality and put their users at risk. If this information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and even physical harm.

For example, a hacker could take control of a smart home device, such as a thermostat or security camera, and use it to spy on the occupants or even cause physical damage to the property.

The Internet of Forgotten Things

The IoFT refers to the vast number of connected devices that have been abandoned by their manufacturers and are no longer supported with security updates or maintenance. These devices often continue to function for years, if not decades, without any intervention. Unfortunately, this also leaves them vulnerable to security risks.

For example, a connected security camera manufactured a decade ago may still be in use today, but is unlikely to have received any security updates or patches. Therefore, it is vulnerable to hacking and can be used as a gateway to access other devices on the same network.

The IoFT is a significant security concern because these devices are often used in critical infrastructure, such as power plants, factories, and transportation systems. If a hacker gains access to these systems, they can cause significant damage and disruption, potentially putting lives at risk.

How to Protect Yourself from IoT Security Risks

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from IoT security risks, including:

1. Keep your devices up to date: Make sure to check for and install updates to your connected devices regularly.

2. Use strong passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for each device and change them regularly.

3. Secure your network: Use strong encryption and security protocols to protect your network from unauthorized access.

4. Limit data sharing: Only share data with trusted parties and make sure to read and understand the privacy policies of your devices and apps.

5. Be vigilant: Watch for signs of suspicious activity, such as unexpected changes in device behavior or unexplained data usage.

6. Self-Audit: Much like a regular maintenance check on your car, you will want to audit your network regularly to ensure that you are doing your due diligence managing it.

7. Remove IoFTs from your IP network: In this case, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply – You will spend more time and money having to fix your hacked network than keeping around IoFTs that are waiting to be compromised.

IoT security is a critical concern, especially as more and more devices become connected to the internet. The IoFT poses a risk as many devices are no longer supported with security updates or maintenance. But by protecting your devices and network, you can help ensure that your data and privacy are kept safe.