The “Internet of Things”… a blessing or a curse?

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More than12 billion devices can currently connect to the Internet, and researchers estimate that by 2020 there will be 26 times more connected things than people

Scottsdale, AZ – November 14, 2016: A high-profile cyberattack has put the growing Internet of Things (IoT) space on alert, news reports say.

Last month a cascading string of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks took down parts of hundreds of sites including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit and The New York Times — demonstrates record-breaking volumes that are overwhelming website defenses. The four-fold growth in attack size over the last year is being driven by hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices hackers are adding to their botnets, according to industry sources.

With an estimated 21 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, there is a critical need to ramp up the security of “things.” The Smart Card Alliance said it advocates for the addition of embedded security in IoT devices.

“Because the producers of these insecure IoT devices currently are insulated from any standards requirements, market feedback, or liability concerns, I am deeply concerned that we are witnessing a ‘tragedy of the commons’ threat to the continued functioning of the internet,” Virginia senator Mark Warner wrote in a letter to the US Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies after the attack.

Experts at Jupiter Support, a remote tech support organization, sense a vital need for consumers to change the passwords on their IoT devices. Neil Britto, CIO of Jupiter Support says the burden is even more on IoT companies to make sure their devices are highly secure, even if vulnerabilities are not necessarily solely their industry’s fault – with the first step being for companies to program their devices to require users to change passwords upon first use.

Security holes of IoT devices are present in any products running software, but IoT items are especially vulnerable, Britto said. He added that patching devices can fix security vulnerabilities without any user interaction, easily.

Playing safe:

  • Create a special guest network for a home Wi-Fi router that allows the creation of separate guest networks to keep untrusted visitors off the regular network.
  • Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on the router, and on all IoT devices if possible.
  • Keep the firmware up to date on all IoT devices.
  • Choose passwords carefully and write them down if needed.
  • Refrain from carrying IoT devices to work or connect them to the employer’s network without permission from IT staff.

Visit www.jupitersupport.com for more information.

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The “Internet of Things”… a blessing or a curse?
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