- February 22, 2020
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Gone are the days when the world functioned with simplistic and primary things as well as procedures. One had to rely too much on themselves to survive. However, in modern times, the Internet has seized control of every aspect of the world. Our everyday use items have turned into intelligent devices, and we find ourselves depending on technology to pull us out from everyday chores.
Lately, a new concept has grasped the attention of millions, called the IoT. The IoT devices have swarmed over the market and have encouraged more people to use them. But what is it exactly? Let’s find out in detail!
What are IoT devices?
IoT (or Internet of Things) is the interconnectedness of the digital information world (the Internet) with the physical world. In simpler terms, all the IoT devices get connected to the Internet, where they collect and share data.
A majority of the IoT devices have added sensors and improved chips that grant them a degree of intelligence. Hence, they can function on their own, but to an extent after which they might require human involvement.
The concept of IoT first developed during the 1980s and 90s. Indeed, people carried out several projects to test their theory. But, they were quite not successful due to the limitation of the technology. However, today, we have produced smaller chips and cost-effective communication means, which has transformed the IoT devices into a huge success.
Understanding IoT with Examples
The Internet of Things is a vast domain, but not a loosely defined one. We have discussed the Internet of Things definition in detail above. So, let’s evaluate a few Internet of Things examples!
The consumer IoT devices are the daily life usage products and get used in a smart home. These IoT devices cover areas from cooking to security, including smart TVs, smart refrigerators, and smart security cameras.
Business or Industrial
The business or industrial IoT devices are the ones that get used to tracking vehicles and for collecting data. Similarly, the governmental purposes of IoT devices include monitoring traffic, issuing disaster notices, etc.
The Good Side; Progress!
Even though the concept of IoT is fairly new, it has become a significant part of our everyday lives. And most of its everyday roles contribute substantially to making life easier, and the progress and development of humankind.
IoT’s massive network connected the world in a way that scientists could only have fantasized back in 1982 when the first Coca Cola vending machine with IoT came forth. Today, one can monitor and control multiple devices in multiple locations with only one device.
Say, you have a smartphone. Now, with smart devices installed at your residence or workplace, and all of these connected to the internet, you can manage the entire place! For example, nowadays, one can have a sneak peek into the refrigerator and buy the right ingredients without having to open the fridge door practically. How? Well, if you have a smart refrigerator that’s IoT friendly, you can look into it, and in some cases, even ask your query while you’re at the market. Usually, there’s an app that connects you to these smart devices and appliances.
Similarly, you can even dim or brighten the lights at your place. Or perhaps turn the volume down on the TV if your teens are wrecking the place with the crazy sound energy.
Also, connectivity is directly proportional to efficiency. In present times, people do not waste precious time and energy in performing manual tasks. For example, instead of logging into the laptop to get a particular update, you ask can Alexa or Siri or Google Assistant to keep you updated. In this way, you will save plenty of time, which you can invest in newer plans.
The time and energy saved allowed humankind to explore domains of science, technology, and art that await our attention. Even more, it has made each individual’s life more goal-oriented and purposeful with the ever-improving personalization and customization. That’s because IoT is even capable of collecting data about you and your lifestyle to alter its services as per your convenience. And also, to pour some more joy and comfort in this ride of life.
But all this convenience, personalization, and comfort comes with a cost. A cost that may as well turn into a lethal threat if not addressed timely. Let us now explore the depths of IoT’s dark side.
The Bad Side; Security Crisis
The root-deep integration of the Internet of Things in our life has brought us both comforts and concerns. We can stay at ease knowing that we can lock and unlock our house’s main door sitting elsewhere. But what if someone else can do that too? What if someone gets hold of our credentials to break-through, trespass, or even rob?
For instance, let us consider the example of a Ring doorbell. This high-tech IoT device allows you to see and communicate with the visitor at your door without having to open the door. Even late at night, its ultra HD camera provides you crystal clear view of the entrance. What’s more, its built-in motion sensors alert you as soon as someone tries to get in without your permission. Like all other IoT devices, you can operate it using a mobile app.
However, the Ring doorbell faced a certain degree of criticism, when a family in Mississippi encountered a hacked Ring doorbell. Although no other case got reported ever since, less secure ring doorbell accounts are indeed the potential target of hackers. These hackers may gain access to your device and use it for criminal activities. Hence, the authorities promote the setup of two-factor authentication.
Also, privacy is at risk. That’s because IoT collects a lot of personal data that resides on online networks, and is likely to get attacked by cybercriminals.
Another record that highlights the terrifying intensity with which IoT-associated threats are increasing includes the FDA’s count of 500,000 hacked pacemakers. In 2017, FDA recalled about half a million pacemakers as these were vulnerable to hacking. Hackers could alter patients’ heartbeat or run down the batteries. Thus, threatening the patients’ life.
Along the same lines, there were similar IoT threats to other sectors of society, including healthcare, education, industry, etc.
Since neglect in both development and deterioration of this technology will only amplify adverse effects, it’s time for us to address the threats of IoT duly. Perhaps, it’s time to make efficient or more accurately, proficient use of the following security tools:
- Data Encryption
- Resilient Coding
- Strong User Authentication
- Routine Security Updates
- Standardized and tested APIs
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems
Using these, we can make a better, healthier, and safer use of the developing Internet of Things devices.