I have been warning you about dangers in the rapidly expanding Internet of things for more than five years. The Internet of Things is made up of a broad range of devices connected to the Internet including home thermostats, security systems, medical devices, refrigerators, smart televisions, cars and toys. According to the research firm Gartner, the number of Internet of Things devices will increase from a significant 11 billion devices in 2018 to 20.4 billion by next year. Unfortunately, most of these devices are not properly secured and can be harvested by cybercriminals into botnets of computers which the criminals can then use to spread malware such as was done by cybercriminals using the Mirai botnet to carry out a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that temporarily disrupted huge portions of the Internet including making Netflix and Twitter inaccessible. On a personal level, vulnerabilities in security of your Internet of Things devices can be exploited to gain access to your home computers and all of the data stored on them which can result in identity theft.
This past summer the FBI issued a new warning to consumers about the dangers of posed by hacking of various devices that makeup the Internet of Things.
Here is a link to the FBI warning. https://www.ic3.gov/media/2018/180802.aspx
Now as a security measure in advance of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will attempt to hack into 200 million IP addresses linked to Japan in an effort to raise security awareness. Of course, this could backfire as it can provide an opportunity for cybercriminals to send spear phishing emails to people informing them that their Internet of Things devices are insecure and luring them into clicking on links containing malware.
Many of the devices that make up the Internet of Things come with preset passwords that can easily be discovered by hackers. Change your password as soon as you set up the product. Also, set up a guest network on your router exclusively for your Internet of Things devices. Configure network firewalls to block traffic from unauthorized IP addresses and disable port forwarding. Make sure that you install the latest security patches as soon as they become available. Use encryption software for the transmission of data and find out where data is stored and what steps are taken to secure the information. Also, limit the amount of information you provide when setting up the accounts for smart toys. The less information out there, the less the risk of identity theft. Most devices allow you to select options that increase your security and privacy. Finally make sure your router is secure and use its whitelisting capabilities which will prevent your device from connecting to malicious networks.
As for clicking on links in emails and text messages, the warning remains the same. Never click on any link in an email or text message unless you have independently confirmed that it is legitimate.
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