Welcome to the first week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020!
Each week we will be highlighting one of the four themes for this year's NCSAM!
Twenty years ago, coffee machines made coffee, thermostats regulated temperature, and cellphones made calls and texts. We pushed buttons and turned dials, and the technology behind it made the magic happen. When we connected to the internet, it was a cool thing, and anything that connected to the internet was even cooler.
That was then, this is now
This phrase couldn’t represent a more dramatic shift in technology than in any other twenty-year span. Today, our coffee machines and thermostats are connected to networks and controlled through apps on our phones that transfer more data in a day than some companies created in a year. We live in a connected world, full of connected devices and we expect that connectivity to be easy enough for a child or a grandparent to use.
The cost of connectivity
But there is a darker side to them all: as they are connected to the Internet, they pose a risk. Why? Because they collect and use our private data. They “know” what we like, what we buy, where we live, where we go, who we’re with, and when we’re at work. If that kind of information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used against us. No matter whether we like it or not, there are cybercriminals out there who work hard to steal our data and use it to their advantage.
I’m protected - right?
Wait a minute, you say. But all my smart devices are bought from trusted, tech-savvy companies and I’m sure they took care of their security. They are specialists, aren’t they? Well, they are, and the products you buy from them are safe at the point of sale. But once you take them out of the box and connect them, that’s a very different story! As soon as you click “Turn Wi-Fi on”, it becomes your responsibility to protect your data.
What can I do about it?
Thus spawns the name of the week 1 theme for NCSAM: If you connect it, protect it.
Here’s a list of things you should do to make the most of your smart stuff:
Smart things are great and it’s hard to imagine the world without them. But they are just what they are: things. YOU decide how to use them and how to make them safe. So next time when you get a new smart TV, a smart toaster, or a smart air conditioner remember: if you connect it, protect it!