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The thumbnail version:

  • Businesses with smart devices connected to the internet are vulnerable to spying

The full version:

According to RGCS of Edinburgh, providers of IT and cloud services to businesses, IOT (Internet of Things) devices now in common use in businesses large and small, represent a spying risk.

What are these devices? Anything with an IP address connected to the internet. This can include CCTV cameras, industrial controllers, building energy systems, smart thermostats, Wi-Fi routers, and computers.

What are the risks? Hackers can take control of these devices and misuse them or use them to spy. According to RGCS: “Some IoT devices have pre-set, default and unchangeable passwords, which, if discovered by cyber-criminals can enable the device to be taken over and misused.”

What can be done?  There are many measures and it wouldn’t hurt to involve your IT resource in planning your security, but here are some suggested by RGCS:

  • Secure your router by changing the default settings.
  • Change the default settings on IoT devices that connect to your router.
  • Do not share passwords between devices.
  • Determine what each device collects  and how it collects it. You can then make informed choices about turning off things like smart speakers or cameras for privacy.
  • Regularly update each device’s firmware.
  • Take advantage of extra security features such as “three strikes, and you’re out.”

What does all of this means for your business? The IoT brings a lot of advantages but it also poses security risks. Your challenge is to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.

And finally, do you still think this is just a big business issue? Well, you’d be wrong. I once had an e-commerce site hacked, and while the hackers didn’t get any valuable information, they wrecked the site. It cost my small business $8,000 to fix. We hadn’t planned for that in our budgeting. Have you?