As we continue our theme this month regarding the “Internet of Things” (IoT), there is so much to learn and understand about these smart devices that have integrated into our daily lives, making it simpler and easier to go about our day. It doesn’t matter if you are an IT admin or a fitness enthusiast; IoT devices are becoming increasingly prevalent and accessible these days.
However, as easy and efficient as these devices make our lives both professionally and personally, it is sometimes easy to get carried away with forgetting that these seamless and self-sufficient devices still need to be managed and monitored. As soon as we let our guards down and allow these devices to go unchecked is the moment we are vulnerable to attacks. The more people adopt IoT devices into their lives, the more opportunities hackers have to access our personal information and wreak havoc on our lives.
As we mentioned in our previous blog, IoT devices still have life spans during which they are getting regular updates and support from the manufacturer… if that manufacturer is being responsible. At the end of that life cycle, the IoT no longer receives updates, which may include patches to prevent attacks or resolve loopholes in the original software. Doing your due diligence and replacing IoT devices nearing the end of their life cycle is not only responsible but extremely important.
Take a look at the standard life cycle of some common IoT devices:
Smart Kitchen Appliances: 2 – 10 years
Originally, dishwashers and refrigerators had a life cycle of up to 15 years before needing to be replaced. With smart appliances, it is troubling that some brands, even reputable ones, are vague with the appliances’ specifications because although the working parts can last up to a decade, the software support does not.
Although it is nice to have appliances connect to your Wi-Fi and allow you to use voice assistants and stream music, it is important to research and find a brand that is clear about how long the appliance is supported under warranty for both parts and software.
Smart TVs: about 2 years
Most manufacturers will only provide software updates for their smart TVs for 1 – 2 years. After that, there may be the occasional security patch. However, the working components of the TV will last between 4 – 7 years, and you can get around the obsolete software by using a streaming device.
Smart Watches: 2 – 3 years
You can technically prolong the life of your smartwatch by NOT allowing software updates after a few years so that the existing components don’t have to work as hard to keep up with the new software updates. However, as we’ve learned through a previous blog, neglecting software updates opens the window of opportunity for a security breach.
Hard Drives: 3 – 5 years
Saving your personal data to a hard drive is the most responsible option, but it requires more management. Once your hard drive is at the end of its life cycle, you should move the data to a new one. Furthermore, the most responsible thing to do is to save your data twice on two separate hard drives. That way, if one gets stolen or damaged, the other will have all your years of photo memories or important documents.
Rules of Thumb:
Before you toss those old devices, always remember to wipe out or destroy them. It is common for these items to get stolen from e-cycling or garbage bins as they are a treasure trove of private and personal information.
Always do your research! The more time you take to research and ensure you are making a sound investment, the less likely you will find your IoT devices compromised or your IP network compromised.
You can add an interim safety net and a DDNS connection from your IoT devices to your internet, making it secure with the added firmware from the router. At No-IP, we fully embrace adding IoT devices to our everyday lives, so long as we do so responsibly and with as much knowledge to navigate them as possible.