As if we all didn’t have enough to worry about now we have the Internet of things about which to be concerned. As more and more of the things we use become connected to the Internet including but certainly not limited to cars, refrigerators, coffee makers and thermostats, it becomes tremendously convenient, for example, for us to use our smart phones to program our thermostats from afar so that our homes will have the proper temperature when we return from a day at work. But every technological advance regardless of how constructive it may seem has the potential to be exploited by scammers, hackers and identity thieves. I have already told you about the very real concerns about cars being able to be hacked and controlled from afar. Check out the archives of Scamicide for more information about that particular issue. Now, however, a new problem has surfaced. The Internet security company Proofpoint has recently found that a botnet of more than 100,000 was made up of not only computers that had been hacked but 25% of the botnet was made up of Internet connected devices including televisions and refrigerators. Botnets, as I have informed you previously is a network of hacked electronic devices used by scammers and identity thieves to spread malware while avoiding detection. You can find more about botnets in the archives of Scamicide and in my book, “50 Ways to Protect your Identity in a Digital Age.”
The danger posed by botnets of devices part of the new Internet of things is quite real and very chilling. Although many of us would not think of neglecting to provide proper security software for our computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, many people do not consider what they need to do to maintain the privacy and security of their refrigerator, car and other devices used that are a part of the new Internet of things. Unfortunately, among the people not giving enough attention to security in the Internet of things are the very companies developing these products. The most effective place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm so whenever you are considering purchasing a convenient device with Internet capabilities, make sure you inquire as to the necessary security steps to take to make your use of the device safe.