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The Internet of Things, where different devices and machines communicate with each other, can be convenient for the user. It also offers totally new business opportunities.
For example, the growing need for services for the elderly is an area where technology and new types of connections can be used to offer services. This is an example of when we as consumers might want our devices to listen and react to us. However, as a company, you would need to be able to protect your customers’ data privacy to make sure only the relevant people can access customer data – and only the data that they need for the service. Concerns about data privacy could impact consumer adoption, and therefore business potential.
With the good comes the bad as well. For any company, the Internet of Things significantly increases the online security risks. For example, an Internet attack could shut down gas stations. Or take control of your intelligent, connected car. And what if your employees discuss business on the phone while the TV is on? A smart TV could be listening, allowing criminals and hackers to gain sensitive information.
Therefore, it is no wonder that when it comes to the Internet of Things, security and privacy are the main concerns among companies. There is a growing worry that the Internet of Things could expose businesses to more hacking and other cyberthreats. The Internet of Things is really made up from embedded devices, and this, according to a study conducted in the UK, makes the security issues relevant for companies. The study revealed that researchers were able to use a wireless laptop to request Wi-Fi credentials from a light bulb over an unsecured mesh network. Using the encryption key, they were able to decrypt the credentials released by the light bulb and use those credentials to connect to a secured wireless network. In another case, a lightbulb performed a DDoS attack on an entire smart house.
Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), lists 3 major privacy challenges that companies will need to tackle:
- Ubiquitous data collection;
- The potential for unexpected uses of consumer data that could have adverse consequences; and
- Heightened security risks.
In a world where everything is connected, it is no longer possible to secure each and every gadget and device with device-specific security software. You need to protect your mobile life. This not only includes the security of your data, but also understanding what applications are accessing other applications on your device or knowing exactly what access you are agreeing to via App Permissions.