Nothing could be more fascinating when you take traditional appliances and devices like a watch, refrigerator, washing machine or vehicle and connect them with the internet. Internet of Things is nothing but the things connected via the internet. You just add layers of computing, connectivity, and intelligence to them. Thus, the amalgam of the internet with physical devices in a smart way can transform the experience for the user.
IoT devices ensure they efficiently collect, store and analyze the human behavior and lifestyle patterns. This can really help you manage your time and work effectively. However, it brings with it a potential threat to cybersecurity and pinpoints the issues of Privacy Breach. This can possibly ruin an individual’s life or cripple the business.
Privacy is not actually about keeping things private nor it’s about keeping secrets. It’s about the choice about what we tell other people about ourselves. The devices today are becoming smarter and network connected. The computing is diffusing out into our environment. We are not aware of the trail of data we are leaving behind us as we move through the world.
Sooner, the world will be full of sensors as they’re embedded in everyday objects. We can see those sensors embedded in our mobile phones, computers, fitness trackers. They just don’t talk to us, they talk to the internet. The data from these objects invariably ends up in the cloud where it’s aggregated, packaged and usually sold. That’s unfortunate because that makes us the product rather than the customer. The problem is not just the email or the personal media files; it’s our heart rate, respiration rate, location and not only how we slept last night, but with whom.
Has IoT Already Bounded Us?
Whether at home or office, technology has captivated us with an invisible string. Wifi and Bluetooth are quite common communication protocols and compatible with a multitude of devices. IoT devices employ these wireless mediums to collect a huge amount of data about us and store them in the cloud. Then this information undergoes an analysis process with the help of algorithmic computations to provide us with better services. On the other hand, if somebody manages to get this data, he will try to violate our privacy.
As soon as you turn your IoT device on, the data automatically transfers to the cloud, potentially forever. They retain every single audio, video or textual interaction. Back in the cold war days, USA and USSR used wiretapping method to conduct surveillance against each other. That was a big deal which helped them to fetch encrypted messages and later on decode them with the help of mathematicians. But now, we are inviting wiretaps in our house.
Soon, every car is going to have an internet connection and will become a part of the IoT revolution. In the future, most of the vehicles will have self-functioning autonomous connectivity. Every connected car reports its location to its cloud service provider. If somebody hacks into the cloud service provider, they would know the location of every car in a specific location. What is the value of this information? Firstly, you can analyze this data and arrive a conclusion about where the person is living or where he is working. You can target a particular person easily.
Flaws In IoT Devices:
According to the reports, the top and most-used IoT devices have the following security flaws:
- Insecure software or firmware
- Insecure Web Interface
- Lack of transport encryption
- Insufficient authentication
- Failed to require passwords
- Hackers discovering user’s identity
- Vulnerable to weak credentials
- Use of unencrypted network services
Privacy Invasion With Voice Assitant:
Recently, Amazon’s Alexa device recorded a private conversation of a family from Oregon and sent that recording to a random contact based in Seattle without the owner’s consent. As per the investigation reports by Amazon, the device took actions upon hearing the command.
The drama began when the Echo device woke up abruptly listening to a word sounding like Alexa. Following the conversation, the device heard something like send a message. While the conversation was going on, the device interpreted a word relating to “send a message”. Following this, Alexa asked “to whom” and at this point, the device perceived something like a name of one of their connections.
This incident might be a rare occurrence. However, there are chances that the privacy breach may recur in the future. Consequently, Alexa and Echo might become haunting buzzwords in our lives.
The more devices that get sold, the more real the threat becomes. In the future, we are going to interact with many IoT devices. These IoT devices are going to collect a lot of information about us. This information can provide us with better services. But on the other hand, if the information leaks, any random person would be able to use it to learn many things about us. Whoever is managing these services should make sure that these devices use secure technologies to protect user privacy.