Throughout the past decade, we’ve seen some amazing upgrades within the internet. The speeds originally started out pretty slow, but are improving as with one phone call you can choose from a variety of NBN plans that give you high-speed internet. One of the most notable advancements that has been relatively new is the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and the possibilities seem endless. However, no one has really explored the dark-side of the IoT.
With the IoT, we see everything has become internet-connected in some way. This has its benefits, but its dangers as well. Recently, hackers stole 10 gigabytes worth of data from a casino by hacking through a casino’s fish tank. The fish tank’s cleaner was connected to the internet to measure sensors, temperature and cleanliness, but left the door open for the casino’s network.
This is only one example of the dangers of IoT, and there are still many issues out there that people need to be aware of. Today, we will go deeper problematic areas of the IoT so you can become aware of its dangers.
Control of the Internet of Things
If we look closer at the IoT, and the devices that they are interconnected to them; we could seemingly ask, who controls these devices? The industry might tell you it’s the software designers, or others tell you marketing and advertisers are involved, but really it’s not a cut clear answer.
If we look at the bigger picture here we see that our digital environment is littered with smart-devices from fish tanks to smart-homes with the list going on and on. Even our smartphones are always updating as it takes in information about us and our surroundings with the information becoming very valuable.
Dangers in the Software’s Licensing Agreement
All of this information that has been collected isn’t just valuable to us, but the marketers, advertisers, sales teams, etc. These internet smart devices can be manipulated to share this information from the fine-print contracts we sign. So in reality software makers already built these backdoors into that software’s licensing agreement.
An example of this would come from your smart TV. By going through the privacy settings you will be shocked at what you find. It was shown that when smart TV’s were turned off, they were actually on and collecting data from their users. However, the good news is that you can actually correct this by following specific steps.
Another example came from the smart vacuum named the Roomba, which scanned the layout of a room it was cleaning; the data was then sent back to the manufacturer for concepts for future marketing and advertising studies in architecture.
In extreme cases, companies may miss-use information from the software license to profit from customers. As an example, Lenovo used a pre-installed adware program (Superfish) on its new computers to collect data on user’s search engine activity by hijacking web browser traffic without the user’s knowledge. Lenovo then sold the information to advertisers secretly who would target those users based on their browsing activity.
The future looks bright for the IoT; however, it still is problematic when it comes to loopholes in user privacy and security. If proper boundaries could be set up to protect users from manufacturers using the excuse that they can use data because a user is using their software license, then the IoT could seem like a safer environment. Some of these issues are being changed thanks to algorithmic security, but ultimately it’s up to you to read the fine print to ensure your privacy and security rights.