By Shane Hoeser, Senior Security Analyst
The global market intelligence firm IDC predicts there will be 30 billion connected devices in use worldwide within the next three years. Smart devices that analyze and share our data will make up the bulk of that number. It seems like every day new technology is released to enhance every aspect of our lives: our homes, our work, transportation, and even our health. As consumers, we are responsible for understanding how our information is being used and shared. Additionally, we share the responsibility of securing our information along with the companies making these devices. We should be protective of our electronic information in the same way we protect our purses, wallets, or backpacks.
Do you know where your data is?
When you’re considering what technologies to incorporate into your life, make sure you understand:
- What personal data is required
- Who owns that data about you
- How the service provider or manufacturer stores and protects its data about you
- The service provider or manufacturer’s End-User License Agreement (EULA)
- Are you authorizing the sale of your information?
- Are you allowing unnamed partners access to your information?
Incident response – not just for businesses anymore
With attacks such as ransomware rising, escalation in mobile threats, and cybercriminals devising more ways to compromise and use personal data, it’s time for consumers to have an incident response plan of their own.
Do you have a backup system set up for your important files and cherished memories? It is easy to set up cloud backups, and a low-cost option is to also own an external drive you can save your files to and keep disconnected from the endpoint. In case of a ransomware attack, guess who’s not paying the bad guys!
Do you know what to do to secure your online accounts? Is two-factor authentication available? What if your password somehow gets reset and a criminal takes over your account? Do you have a setup that will inform you of an issue outside a text message? Check out what security options you have online with each company.
How about securing your personal details? With personally identifiable information (PII) roaming the internet like never before, you might be the last to find out when your data has been compromised and used by a criminal. From medical fraud to insurance fraud to taking out a loan in your name, criminals will stop at nothing, and often money will only be the start of the problem. Plan for a rainy day by setting up special alerts on use of your personal details and make sure you get a call if ever a new credit line or loan is requested on your behalf. Always monitor your financial accounts for suspicious activity and review your credit report at least annually. If you notice anything out of the ordinary call your financial institution and/or notify the FTC for help.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about connecting everyday devices like your home lights, electronics, or appliances to the internet. Though IoT provides ease and simplicity in our lives, there are still risks. It is important to consider sensitive information you may leave open to exposure (e.g. baby monitors, cameras).
- If possible, password protect your IoT devices
- Keep your IoT devices up-to-date just like you would your smartphone or computer
- Understand the data the device is collecting and how it is used