One of the biggest technological advancements of this century can be seen in the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though it is a relatively new concept, a lot of companies and start-ups have started to jump on it.
Enabling everyday units connect to the internet and interact with a network of other devices, the possibilities that this technology holds for the future is almost limitless.
Besides bringing the comfort that used to only be seen in science fiction movies into our lives, though, IoT also has its own demons to consider.
What is IoT?
The basic operational model of IoT is to allow all/ a very large part of devices and units present in a place connect to one another. The preferred mode of connection is the internet, thus its name.
By connecting to one another, this technology can make these devices work in an ecosystem through a series of syncing operations. That allows for the free flow of data (and information) between these devices, enabling them to carry out their normal activities.
Let’s leave the technological jargon for a bit and apply this to everyday life.
Internet of Things is the concept that aims to transform how you see ordinary devices around your house.
It is the technology that will make such things as your smart refrigerator identify the groceries you are low on and placing orders for them autonomously happen. This same tech will allow you connect something as basic as your yard sprinkler system to the internet, affording you the comfort of operating it even while on holiday in another part of the world.
Besides, you can even get to see specialized shopping suggestions which would be based off your browsing habits. Looking at things in this light, there is no way Internet of Things won’t make our lives easier and even more fun.
The many dangers of IoT
With great power, they say, comes great responsibility.
For your connected devices to work well with one another, they would have to work on a large volume of data. Not just any data – your own data.
They get access to your browsing history, contact list, health records, personal diet schedule, possible shopping preferences, preferred audio and video content – you name it. Such data will be harvested off your activities and used to make decisions for you.
The sad part is, the same data can also be engineered against you.
A hacker could look into your smart fridge data and identify what credit card details it alludes all payments to. If that gets hijacked, such a hacker can wipe out your account and even leave you in the red from overdrafts.
An insurance company might just have to look at your mined health data to see if they should grant you coverage or not. Such prejudice will extend to employers who can now look at your browsing history first and from there, decide to hire you or not.
These are just some out of an endless list of examples. We don’t need to go into more details though. You get it already.
How do you protect yourself?
Saying these devices should not see the light of day won’t cut it. They are here already, and they are here to stay. We see no reason why you should hate on them though – they are just here to make your life better. Like all tech, though, they can be manipulated.
The good news is, you can download a VPN for your router to steer clear of of all those manipulations. For your data to be used against you, it has to be linked back to your person. A VPN puts a good layer of anonymity on your data to prevent such from happening. These pieces of software also provide encryption, making it impossible for unauthorized persons to look in on your internet activity.
Of course, you cannot download VPNs onto these smart devices as they do not carry such functionalities.
However, you can download a VPN directly onto personal devices (such as phones and computers) that you would be using to manage and control your smart units. That way, you are always encrypted (and kept anonymous) anytime you are communicating to your smart ecosystem.