The Internet of Things...Is our Future in Danger?

Who could have imagined that the television show, The Jetsons would forecast the future of gadgets, robotics and technology? We now refer to this as, the Internet of Things. For those of you who don’t know, the Internet of Things (which is also commonly referred to as IoT) is essentially “about connecting devices over the Internet, letting them talk to us, applications and each other.” Whether it be the Internet, your mobile device or even tablet, we are all very plugged in. As a result, more often than not, we are hearing about hackings, personal information being leaked and real safety concerns all surrounding the topic of “too much” or an abundance of technology. 

First, let’s get one thing straight…just how does IoT influence our day to day lives? Well, your everyday products are almost all connected to the Internet. Your kitchen appliances, car, heart monitors, video game consoles, home thermostat systems and more are being linked through the IoT, with more being added every day! Some consumers would call the integration of their devices a “convenience” but it comes with some dangers. “Big Brother” is probably watching you in some way, shape or form and we are unknowingly making ourselves targets to it.

Case in point; in the most recent news, we’ve heard of a major safety concern surrounding the Internet of Things. On Friday, October 21, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack caused an outage over the East Coast. Hackers took over the company Dyn, a company that is responsible for monitoring and optimizing the Internet. In short, the attack stopped consumers from being able to reach major websites such as Amazon, Twitter and Netflix! We won’t bore you with too many details of the hacking, but the cause is known as a Mirai-based IoT botnet which feeds on unsecure servers of the Internet and takes over susceptible security of the IoT. In other words, these hackers were successful due to “weak login credentials.” If weak login credentials were a factor in bringing down such a large company, what does that mean for a regular consumer of technology?

Well, from the glass half full perspective, I will say that the Internet of Things comes with some definite risk factors. Lack of privacy, security, safety and intricacy are all different dangerous aspects to the Internet of Things that have not be fully ironed out. Unfortunately, with everything being connected to one another, we are exposing ourselves and our devices to being hacked and taken over. Your Apple watch connects to your phone, your phone is connected to your bank mobile app, and the connection goes on and on. It’s important that we are aware of how connected all of our devices are because we are making ourselves more susceptible. 

However, the Internet of Things is not all bad. The ability to be able to use automation is ultimately saving businesses and household’s time and money. The integration of IoT in the healthcare system has also proven to be very beneficial. The medical field is using IoT to track vital signs of patients by way of chips, heart monitors and more! Your Fitbit and Apple watch are also connected to the IoT and can help you reach your fitness goals by allowing you to access your stored data on multiple platforms. As a technology professional at ContentActive, we too, utilize the IoT in order to streamline your business’s processes, drive leads, achieve high-ranking analytics and ultimately, help management. 

So is your future in danger? The answer to that questions really lies in your own hands. It’s important to be careful when and where you enter your information and stay mindful of the things around you and just how technology is influencing your life. Being more selective where you put your personal and private information is a precaution that we should all be taking, especially when IoT is only continuing to grow. In fact, a technology research firm predicts that, “6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.”With predictions like these, it’s crucial to be educated and aware of the risk factors! For now, the Internet of Things is a topic we will be monitoring closely!