Wikipedia defines Internet of Things as follows: “The Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers(UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.” This definition is a fancy way of saying that Internet of things extends the Internet into devices and everyday objects where they can independently communicate with each other and with Internet-based systems.
All IoT systems are comprised of sensors to collect data about the environment in which they reside, connectivity to send the data to the cloud (typically via either WiFi or Bluetooth), data processing systems within the cloud to process all the data, and a way to transmit the results to the end user (such as via email or text message).
As you can imagine, privacy and security issues abound. Privacy is a concern because data might be stolen; security is a concern because the IoT device might be taken over and controlled remotely from anywhere in the world.
IoT devices are incredibly useful and have a real “wow” factor. Hence, they are in high demand. There are a number of things you can check and do when purchasing them:
1) Only buy from reputable vendors
2) Check if the device is compliant with current encryption standards such as TLS/SSL
3) If the device has a default password, change it to a strong password
4) If it connects wirelessly, set up a guest network for it to use, thereby keeping it off of your main internal network
5) Make sure you have the current firmware and that you keep it updated