Life is made up of the little things. There are ‘fuzzy feeling’ little things; like when the nice lady in front of you pays for your coffee, or when your boss acknowledges a report you went above and beyond to deliver. Then there are the less exciting, more mundane details. Things like remembering to turn off your heater or trying to find your lost keys. We can’t avoid these pesky tasks, but as technology has progressed, the internet continues to lend its hand more and more. Enter the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of devices connected to the internet. Even if you don’t know it, you’re probably using IoT devices in more than one capacity. Through IoT, you can monitor your sleeping baby’s breathing, hunt down your missing keys, or even heat your home efficiently. IoT devices are powered through a physical object, be it a ‘smart’ toaster, physical tracking fob, or ‘smart’ outlet, which communicate with a mobile app via, you guessed it, the internet. Headed out the house in a rush and not positive you locked your front door? There’s an app for that! Simply push a button in your app and voilà, your door is locked. The internet can be pretty darn cool.
Not to bring the mood down, but what does a cybercriminal love more than devices without strong security? You guessed it—nothing. An influx of connected devices equates to a larger potential attack surface. On top of that, as the IoT landscape is still shiny and new, security measures are still a work in progress. These new apps are trying their best, but there is still work to be done.
We do our best to protect your privacy via mobile device, but the Internet of Things takes the security risk to a whole new level.
Allowing an app to remotely open your front door or track your family is trusting your mobile device with your physical safety and security. That trust can’t be taken for granted. Should cybercriminals gain access to your device, the potential risk is highly personal, and dangerous.
While there are undoubtedly benefits to IoT, we also want to bring to light the heightened sense of caution that should come along with use. Here are our top tips for keeping your mobile device safe while in the IoT era:
- Comprehensive mobile security stands as a first line of defense from the bad guys. McAfee® Mobile Security, available for both Android and iOS, protects your device, your data, and your privacy. You wouldn’t put the key to your house out in the open, so don’t leave it in plain sight within your mobile device.
- Downloading the latest IoT apps can make you feel like a kid in a candy shop—but be sure to stick with the shop you know and love. Only download apps from official app stores, no third parties here. As always when downloading a mobile app, be sure to read and understand the security settings.
- Be on the lookout for apps that request advanced security settings, which can open up your device to attacks.
Next time you use your mobile device to turn off the lights or change the channel on your TV, remember the power you hold in your hands. The Internet of Things continues to grow, and your security should grow along with it.