With the shopping season approaching, internet-related devices and toys are likely to be a popular item on many users’ wish lists, as more than 88% of people use IoT (Internet of Things) devices in their families.
However, cyber security experts warn: Internet of Things devices can quickly go from fun to creepy, depending on how hackable they are.
“Big Black Friday discounts can push customers to buy some very controversial devices. However, Internet of Things devices are widely known among experts for the low security measures they usually have installed. A joke is circulating: ‘S in IoT means security’. So it’s better to think before you bring any new IoT device into your family, as it can easily compromise your entire network, ”says NordVPN digital security expert Daniel Markuson.
Globally, 1.5 billion attacks occurred against IoT devices in the first six months of 2021. Of the recent attacks, the most important occurred in March 2021, when a group of hackers gained access to 150,000 Verkada smart security cameras used inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools.
As a result, criminals were able to watch videos from women’s health clinics, psychiatric hospitals, Tesla Inc. and the Verkada offices themselves.
Which IoT devices are too risky to buy?
There are two main aspects that can determine the level of vulnerability of certain devices. First, innovation. If a product is new and there is not much competition in the market, it is usually tested less before release and thus is more dangerous for a user.
“IoT device manufacturers are in a hurry to sell new devices as soon as possible. This means that they are sending them with the minimum features required for their operation, shortening the development process and reducing costs as much as possible. “So if we consider the innovation aspect, the most dangerous devices are the ones that are too new to be widely used and thus tested,” Markuson concludes.
Another aspect is cybercrime economics. Criminals usually target those devices that bring them the most value. Because of this, the most vulnerable devices are those that store the most sensitive information, which can later be used to manipulate users to pay rewards.
For example, if criminals take control of a user’s baby monitor, they can observe the child and everything that is happening in his or her room and convince a parent that they have much more valuable information than just those recordings. or A similar attack occurred in January 2019 when a mother from Western Australia noticed a major security breach of her device as she saw a stranger’s bedroom on her baby monitor screen.
“This aspect makes smart cameras (owned by 16.4% of users), speakers (28.2%) and televisions (57.1%) are the most dangerous, as they store the most sensitive information for their users, “explains Markuson.
“I would also pay special attention to the Wi-Fi router I buy. It does not store a lot of personal information, but creates a network that connects all the devices in the user’s home. So once a criminal hacks into your Wi-Fi router, it can access all of your IoT devices. ”
What to keep in mind before spending your money on a new device
“IoT devices are useful, fun and really make our lives easier. So when you decide to save a coin when buying them during Black Friday sales, do so taking into account your future privacy and security “, says Daniel Markuson and gives some advice.
- Look at the privacy issues associated with the devices you purchase. Look for technology sites that dig into privacy and security issues or buy organization-certified equipment such as ioXt.
- Avoid buying equipment that is too new to be properly tested. You may miss the innovation, but you will also miss the risks associated with a possibly rushed product.
- Think about whether you really need the device. survey shows that people who have more devices are also more vulnerable to hacker attacks.
- Take proper care of your device after purchasing it. Once you have configured a new device, change its default login and password, and disable features that you will not be using. Also, remember to regularly update your device and install a VPN if possible.