Privacy Protection and

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Identifying strategies for security, safety and privacy while leveraging the latest internet-connected technology is key in today's digital world. Smart cities, smart cars and homes, and even connected healthcare devices are fast becoming our new reality. Data is the fuel that makes interconnected devices work. While there are tremendous benefits of interconnectivity, it is important to understand how to reap the benefits of this technology in safe and secure ways. Read below for information on this week's topics:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Risks of IoT
  • Protecting Yourself

What is IoT?

More and more everyday devices are connected to the Internet as the number of available smart devices keeps increasing. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all physical devices that connect to each other via the Internet in order to send and receive information. It is estimated that by 2020, the world will have 24 billion IoT devices.

Examples of IoT

  • Smart thermostats that can be adjusted from a smartphone or a computer
  • Wearables like a fitness trackers or watches that can post your calorie counters and/or your location online
  • Entertainment systems including a television, gaming system, speakers and headphones
  • Home security systems including alarms, smart locks, garage door openers, baby monitors, cameras, and home assistants
  • Smart home appliances like a refrigerator, coffee maker, oven, and vacuum

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Risks of IoT Learn about the Risks of IoT

IoT devices can provide a lot of convenience and make our daily lives easier.  However, they also can be a  potential risk to our security and can provide an opportunity for the hackers and cyber criminals to get access to our personal and private information.


  • Many smart devices collect and transmit personal information. For example a wearable fitness tracker can provide information about your location. A smart watch can store private messages or email.  It is important to remember that if you can access all your data remotely, a cybercriminal might be able to as well.
  • Smart devices, if hacked, can also be used as a gateway to your personal network.  For example, a thermostat connected to your home network, if not properly secured, could provide access to your identity, sensitive financial information and other devices.

Gaining unauthorized control

  • A badly secured smart device can allow someone to take control of a device and its functions. For instance, a burglar can gain access to a smart lock and be able to unlock the doors of your house.
  • In the similar way, somebody can hack a smart car and take control of some of the functionalities such as turning on and off windshields or even disable brakes.

Unauthorized access

  • Having the ability to remotely access smart devices provides a lot of convenience. However, this also creates a security risk of somebody else gaining the same access. For example, many people use Internet protocol (IP) camera or a smart baby monitor. Having somebody hacking these devices provides and ability to see and hear everything that happens inside the house.  

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Protecting Yourself Learn how to protect your information

Good Cyber Security Practices

  • Change the manufacturer's default user names and use strong passwords for your Wi-Fi network and smart devices. Don't use anything that could be associated with your name, address or phone number.
  • Update  security software and firmware on your home computer and smart devices regularly.
  • Don't open attachments from people you don't know
  • Don't use automatic login
  • Enable a lock-screen password on devices.

Secure Your Network

  • Allow only trusted and verified devices to be connected to your network.
  • To limit the damage of a cyber-attack, separate your IoT devices from your main network. Ask your service provider for help to create a ‘guest' network for your IoT devices.
  • Monitor your IoT devices usage to detect any strange behavior

Secure Smart Devices

  • Understand what personal information is being collected and why it's needed before you buy IoT devices or download apps. 
  • Turn off unused or not needed features such as geolocation.
  • Turn off smart devices when not used. For example set the security camera and microphone off when you are not using it.

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