Data Privacy in the Age of Internet of Things

We live in the age of digital connectivity. There’s nothing you can find which is not connected to the global hub, i.e., the Internet. From your computers and Smartphones to wearable gadgets and smart refrigerators in your home, everything is linked to the Internet.

You need round-the-clock internet connectivity to access the plethora of resourceful information at any time you want. Although this convenience empowers you to access even your personal devices from anywhere in the world such as an IP camera, it also strips you of the control on your online privacy.

Privacy Breach Incidences in the Past Few Years

Data privacy in the age of Internet of Things has never been so frail than a few decades ago, and it is highly likely to get worse in the coming years.

Over the years, cyber criminals, hackers, spies and even some agencies have jolted us into realizing that we don’t have complete control on who can access our personal data. For instance, in 2016, hackers launched one of the most powerful DDoS attacks in the history using a malware named Mirai that paralyzed many connected devices.

Likewise, in March 2017,WikiLeaks exposed how our private lives are not safe from the creepy surveillance of hackers who can exploit the security vulnerability in our Smartphones or Smart TVs, and use the devices’ camera and microphone to monitor our every move and listen to our private conversations.

This makes it clear that privacy breaches are not just increasing but are intensifying every passing year.

How to Ensure Data Privacy

As frightening as it may sound, we cannot just sit back and relax while some stranger uses our personal data for personal gain or just to quench their fantasies. There are many ways you can protect your connected devices against privacy breaches. What you only need to do is to take proactive measures and consider the following privacy security tips.

Stop Making Sensible Passwords

First of all, you need to stop creating passwords that make sense to your or any else for that matter. Heck! Passwords should be completely gibberish or nonsensical.

The more complex a password is, the more difficult it would be for anyone to crack it. When your passwords are un-guessable, your smart devices and even your home Wi-fi will be one-step closer to being hack-proof.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Strong passwords can give you a peace of mind when it comes to making your accounts hack-proof, but there are some ways that hackers can still get your password. For instance, you may lose your email id and its credentials if it is used on a social network which at some point is hacked by a hackers’ group.

You can use 2-factor authentication to counter such problems and make your email ids useless to hackers. When you use a 2-factor authentication, your email requires not just your password for access but also a security code that it sends to your phone.

Keep the Firmware Updated

The WikiLeaks revelations that I discussed earlier were possible because of malware injected through security holes in the firmware. From time to time, manufacturers roll out security patches to fix those security holes, allowing users to use their devices without worrying about any exploits.

Therefore, it is important to update the device’s firmware whenever there’s a new security patch rolled out by the manufacturer.

Get Encryption

Encryption is the way to go to secure your devices and Internet connection. Encryption tools like VPNs give you the ability to stop hackers dead in their tracks while you browse the Internet in a safe and secure manner.

When you use a VPN service, the tool creates an encrypted tunnel between your smart devices and the Internet server. Hence, whatever data is sent back and forth is encrypted with a 256-bit encryption, restricting hackers or snoopers from peeking into your data.

Final Say

Data privacy in the age of Internet of Things may be fading due to global data breaches or hacking incidents. However, it is not like we can’t do anything to stop them.

An information security analyst in the making, a father of an adorable kid and a technology writer (Contributor). He can be found lurking around top network security blogs, looking for scoops on information security and privacy trends.

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