Technological innovations have been improving our way of life for decades. Could you imagine ever having to go back to a time before smartphones? These gadgets allow us to complete so many tasks from the palm of our hand, we would probably be lost without them.
Smart appliances such as TVs, refrigerators and household lights are also helpful. However, some people are making a critical mistake with these gadgets that could be a major privacy risk.
What mistake are people making with IoT gadgets?
The downside to these smart appliances, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is the fact that they need to connect to the internet to function. This opens the door to hackers who can get access to our login credentials and steal our personal data and even our money. To make matters worse, some people are making it easier for hackers to spy on them.
What we're talking about is the way users name their gadgets.
When setting up your IoT gadget you need to give it a name so it can be recognized on the network. For example, Kevin might name his smart television "Kevin's_Sony123." Or Mary names her laptop "Mary's_laptop143."
Putting your name in the gadget's name makes it easier for someone to know that it belongs to you. That would allow them to follow you around digitally and potentially snoop on your private information sent over a network. This privacy risk comes from internet protocols that leak information such has host names.
Think about your smart television, if you have one of course. Whenever the TV loses the Wi-Fi connection, this happens to me often, you need to find your network and re-enter your password to connect again. When you go through the menu it shows all of the Wi-Fi networks in the area. If your Wi-Fi network is named after you, anyone who sees it knows it's yours.
This is how it works for all gadgets that you have named. If you're connected to a public Wi-Fi anyone can do a search of the network and see what gadgets are connected. That means if you're at the airport working on your laptop and it's connected to the Wi-Fi, it can be discovered in a search.
What you need to do
When naming your smart gadgets, it's important to come up with something generic that won't easily be tracked back to you. When you're on the go the last thing you want is to have a stalker or hacker pinpoint your location.
As mentioned above, these IoT gadgets can cause security issues because of their internet connections. Here are a few of the more popular IoT items:
- TVs - One issue with smart TVs that we've warned you about is how they're being hit with ransomware.
- Lights - These smart lights can be used in DDOS attacks. Learn how your light bulbs could help take down the internet.
- Locks - Some smart locks are making it easier for hackers to break into your home.
- Security cameras
- Wireless printers
Those are just a few of the smart appliances found in many homes today. There are many more on the way. The technology is becoming more and more popular and it's becoming less expensive for manufacturers to implement it.