On Data Privacy Day, January 28th, we should have all taken a few moments to think more carefully about safeguarding our personal data, staying safe online, and improving our privacy habits. Just what does that mean in the age of IoT — the Internet of Things?
In previous years, cyber threats mostly consisted of ransomware, data theft, and business email compromise (BEC) scams. Thieves have stolen credit card numbers and other personal information, and victims might even pay a ransom to hackers holding their computers hostage.
Keeping data private often required working with administrators to intercept and stop these attacks, and learning to avoid opening messages from an unknown sender.
The Deluge of Data
Because a host of convenient smart devices now continuously gather, process, and send data to make our lives more convenient, they have also magnified the threats to data privacy.
You just have to look at all the connected devices around us to see a simple dilemma: our ability to collect and process data has overwhelmed our ability to protect that information. Our smartphones, fitness trackers, smart TVs, and even smart appliances generate a massive amount of sensitive information, from browsing habits to purchasing patterns to real-time location to personal health information.
Attackers employ a variety of methods to infiltrate these helpful devices and use them to gather, process, and transmit data. The more information they can transfer, the more valuable it becomes, making this type of hijacking ever more tempting. Check out the IoT Security Guidelines – Device Life Cycle Overview to learn more.
Securing Devices, Not Just Data
The design of IoT technology focuses on convenience, not security, which makes data vulnerable. Managing the risks associated with data collection begins with making the gathered data more secure. The time has come to ask what privacy truly requires.
Right now, threats to a connected home include hardware vulnerabilities, network threats, ransomware, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Securing the home router can prevent vulnerable devices from becoming compromised. Welcoming Security to the Connected Home explains in detail how to secure home devices.
The Responsibility for Data Privacy
It might seem counterintuitive, but data privacy does not necessarily mean keeping your data private — it means taking charge of what we choose to divulge about ourselves. We now leave a trail of data behind us that grows wider with every smart device we acquire. Billions of smaller and smarter devices will soon paint highly detailed portraits of almost everything we do.
Given that we do not have full control over the devices that require our data to work (like GPS devices that track your specific location), you must pay close attention to the data that you share. Carefully read the end-user license agreement (EULA) before selecting the “Yes, I agree” option. Protect the electronic doorway to your home by setting up a secure router. Change the default password of any new IoT device that you set up. In fact, use strong unique passwords for all of your online accounts.
Take charge of protecting your data, because nobody else will care as much as you do about your privacy.
Learn more about Data Privacy Day: https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/
Find out how Trend Micro has addressed Data Privacy Day in years gone by:
For more information on Trend Micro Internet of Things (IoT) solutions click here.