Internet of Things: 10 Frequently Asked Questions
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or environments. The Internet of Things allows for the automation and coordination of various devices, systems, and services using existing network infrastructure to provide data about these things. That number is expected to grow by another 25 billion devices over the next four years.
IoT is the network of physical devices, such as vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity, enabling these objects to connect and exchange data. The term "Internet of Things" was coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999 and was listed in his book as one of five technologies that will change the world as we know it.
It's a network of devices that are connected to the Internet.
The IoT is about connecting things, not people.
It is a given that the Internet of Things will increase the number of devices connected to the Internet. It's also a given that hackers will want to hack as many devices as possible. With that in mind, it's easy to see why there will be an increase in cyber attacks with more devices connected to the Internet.
- Use a password
- Use a firewall
- Use encryption
- Use a VPN
- Install security updates and patches on all devices you own, not just the IoT ones
Everything has an IP address: anything with a chip, any device that can be controlled remotely, and anything with a sensor. In other words, any device sends or receives data over the Internet. This includes:
- Televisions and media players (e.g., Roku)
- Video game consoles (e.g., Xbox One)
The Internet of Things is a technology that enables a wide range of devices to connect to the Internet. These devices include light bulbs and thermostats for cars, appliances, and even medical equipment.
The IoT also includes an ecosystem of developers who create products and applications that take advantage of this connectivity—and they're making these things at an astonishing rate. For example, there are currently more than one billion smartphones in use on our planet right now. And these phones are just the beginning: soon, we'll see smart TVs and other types of connected devices all around us.
The development of this technology falls into several categories:
- Software applications for users (e.g., mobile apps)
- APIs for developers building connected apps or services
- Cloud services for managing large numbers of connected devices
No special equipment is needed to connect your devices to the Internet of Things. You can connect devices with a computer and an internet connection, or you can use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and an internet connection. If you're setting up devices in a home where other users may not be tech-savvy, you must ensure they understand how they work and how they should interact. When people don't know what something does, they're more likely to avoid using it.
This is a great question, and the answer is yes. A business can use your personal information without your consent if they have a legitimate interest. The key terms in that sentence are "legitimate interest" and "without your consent."
For example, if I buy something online and agree to share my shipping address with the store, they can use that data to send me marketing material. This is not only because I permitted them when I bought the item (the first time) but also because they have a legitimate interest in communicating with their customers about new products or discounts on future purchases.
But what if those same stores wanted to sell my shipping address to other companies? They wouldn't be able to do that unless I permitted them again (through another checkbox or button click), which would indicate that I am aware of how this new company will use my information and still want them to do it anyway!
The best thing to do if you suspect that personal information has been stolen is to contact the company that collected the data and files a complaint. If you think your identity has been stolen, you must notify the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) as soon as possible. If a hacker gains access to your accounts on one site and steals personal information from there, then opens new charges with other online users by taking advantage of those same profiles, you can sue both the individual hacker and the website that was hacked for allowing unauthorized party access to sensitive information.
To whom can I report this?
The Trade Commissioner Services maintains an online database of companies that have been reported for potential violations of security standards or privacy rights in their handling of user data; there may be other agencies responsible for investigating these kinds of complaints (for example, state attorneys general handle certain types of fraud cases). In addition to filing with these groups directly or through an attorney if necessary (and researching whether they'll cover any losses), here are some steps we recommend:
- File a complaint with your local police department--this will help them investigate any crimes against you personally while also documenting how long it takes each agency involved in resolving this issue.* Consider hiring an attorney who specializes in cybersecurity law or privacy issues.* Contacting someone who specializes in computer forensics--these professionals might be able to determine what exactly happened during this incident, so everyone knows exactly what needs fixing before another breach occurs.
- How will the Internet of Things benefit me personally and financially?
The IoT will make your life easier by connecting your devices to the Internet and enabling you to control them anywhere. For example, if you go on vacation and don't want someone coming into your house while you're away, a smart door lock can be programmed so that only certain people can unlock it. Additionally, if something breaks in your home while you're gone, a connected smoke detector will alert an emergency contact when it senses something amiss.
In addition to convenience benefits like those mentioned above, there are also financial benefits to being connected:
- You can monitor how much electricity each device uses at any given time, which helps reduce costs by allowing consumers who use energy-efficient appliances (like LEDs) but still have high utility bills due in part because they frequently leave lights on unnecessarily during the day when nobody is home (or leave them off entirely).
- Consumers can receive alerts from their utility company about possible power outages before they happen so that they know ahead of time what needs doing before any damage occurs."
The Internet of Things is here, it's here to stay, and you should take advantage of it as soon as possible before your neighbors do and you're left behind! IoT has many benefits, including:
- Improving your life
- Improving your business
- Being able to get ahead of the competition
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