How Will the Internet of Things Affect Our Security and Privacy?

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is to be the next big brainwave in the way of technology – and can directly improve how we interact with entertainment and content throughout a variety of mediums. Essentially, the Internet of Things refers to the huge data sharing protocols that will enable smart software to be developed and shared across many different platforms. The futuristic tech that is eluded to in works of fiction would only be possible through IoT technology, so harnessing it now shows a huge commitment to developing our lives with tech. But how will the Internet of Things affect both our privacy and our security.

The Internet of Things can be a very useful tool as technology grows and our lives are busier, as simple tasks can be taken care of and our devices and homes could be personalized for as smooth a life as possible. This is all down to data. Data is able to be shared across the applications and shows how the Internet of Things is applicable in a real-life setting. By sharing information across programs, your phone, for example, is able to control the temperature in your house through an app, by collecting information based on the temperature in your house at any moment, despite not being there.

The Internet of Things and Security

One possible concern about the Internet of Things is the data that is harvested to allow applications to interact with one another. Application Programming Interface (API) refers to the intermediary that allows programs to communicate with one another. One issue with APIs is that the data they have harnessed could be used in a cyber attack if the right API security models aren’t in place, especially with the added issues of encryption and insecure endpoints. Indeed, with 150,000 individual data points being created every day, there is a wider range for potential hackers to force their way in. For example, your house and the movements of when you use the mobile thermostat could be analyzed. Some cite this as a reason the IoT could be flawed, but others stress the importance of higher security across the board – and that security threats haven’t halted the use of laptops, the cloud, Wi-Fi, etc. Indeed, computers came with the same threats when they first launched, and many can hardly imagine life without them.

Internet of Things Home ConnectionThe Internet of Things and Privacy

With the EU roll-out of GDPR, which affects the majority of countries dealing with EU consumers, privacy has come to the fore once again. The Internet of Things collects a profile of each user – especially with more smart technology, a bigger profile can be created. This information can then unwittingly be used by companies in order to tailor marketing. Should someone constantly have the thermostat switched up, this information could be useful to double-glazing sellers, companies that sell warmer clothes, or even targeted ads for electric blankets. For example, hackers could hack into unencrypted data from a smart home device to discover which television program was being watched and then use this information. This could further be used to create profiles of households and users, which is extremely valuable marketing data. Should this be a concern of consumers, they may hold off on buying smart devices in case they are ‘spied on’. Although, tightening privacy regulations could ensure smart devices aren’t used to harvest data that consumers might not want sharing.

Overall, the Internet of Things is beginning to show us how useful it can be to share data across different applications. But, as with any new technology, there are concerns. By tackling head-on any security breaches and any misuses of private data, consumers should remain confident that the Internet of Things will work in their favor.

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The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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