The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the far-reaching, interconnected networks of internet-accessible devices (things) equipped with software and firmware to collect, store, and transmit data to other IoT devices or other internet-connected devices. IoT devices at home are often used for convenience or entertainment purposes and can include smart TVs, wireless speakers, smartwatches, or internet-connected appliances such as thermostats or refrigerators. IoT devices, such as sensors, are also used in industrial settings to quickly transmit data between physically separate control systems and industrial machines. These devices' ubiquitous nature also brings an element of risk because each device may be used as a potential attack vector or pivot point into a network. IoT devices have enlarged the potential attack surface area, so consumers should take the appropriate steps to secure and further harden their networks and IoT devices.
While IoT as a concept began about 20 years ago, machines have communicated with each other since the early 1800s. The path to IoT began with basic forms of long-distance communication. In 1832, Baron Shillings in Russia invented the first electromagnetic telegraph.
By 2013, IoT had evolved into a system that simultaneously uses multiple technologies, such as internet-to-wireless communication, and from micro-electromechanical systems to embedded systems. Automation, wireless sensor networks, and GPS technology is used to support the IoT.
No standard manufacturing requirements currently exist for developers of IoT devices. IoT devices may pose various threats to your home or work network, the devices on those networks, or your personal data.
Cybercriminals can take advantage of poorly configured IoT devices to steal sensitive data without the user being aware. Listed below are some effective ways a home user can secure their IoT devices and prevent their devices from being exploited by attackers.
Learn more about developing an effective cyber strategy.
Special thanks to contributing authors Grant Hsu and Timothy Mayers Jr.