5 things you should know about the Internet of Things

5 things you should know about the Internet of Things


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5 things you should know about the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has become a buzzword that you have probably seen in the news in recent years. As more people buy smart watches, self-driving cars, smart TVs, game consoles, or even smart refrigerators, the Internet of Things is growing in breadth and depth, with billions of electronic devices online at any one time.

These rapid technological developments are enough to make your head spin as a consumer. secure IoT demystifies the internet of things and the most common electronic devices and the networks linked to it.

You can buy virtually any appliance now that has been enabled with “smart technology,” usually a type of tiny transmitter, from a radio-frequency identification tag to smartphones and tablets connected to cellular networks. The communications of these devices range from a simple ping that verifies location to a full user interface with built-in GPS, like a smart watch. Their defining characteristic is that they can not only communicate with each other, but also transmit data to a central hub such as a corporation or manufacturer. Then there are devices designed for constant interaction with humans. For example, a smart watch that records not only your heart rate during exercise and calories burned, but also how many hours you sleep.

Read on to find answers to some of the most common questions about IoT devices. We’ll demystify the technology and introduce some of the risks you may have heard about when linking your Alexa or home thermostat to the Internet.



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Where do you find IoT devices in everyday life?

In 2022, it’s hard to overstate how common it is to find devices that are part of the Internet of Things, or IoT. Smart watches are more popular IoT, with Apple shipping 31 million Apple watches in 2019 only. Smartwatches are usually tied to your cell phone provider so they can stay online on the go. Much of the information they collect is the same data you would find constantly being collected by your smartphone.

Game consoles are the second most popular type of IoT-related device, with high-speed Internet connections that download new games and keep others constantly online. Smart TVs are the third most popular as more people opt for big screens that can seamlessly stream all of their favorite shows. The fourth most popular type of IoT is voice-controlled devices like Alexa, which also raises a number of privacy and security questions.

The fifth most popular category of IoT is scanners and printers. You’ll still find plenty in home offices, even though smartphone camera apps have replaced their features more recently. The sixth and most important type of IoT for home security is also the most potentially problematic for privacy: video cameras. This especially applies to laptop and tablet cameras equipped with microphones that can detect and record conversations.



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How IoT devices communicate

All IoT devices are connected to the Internet and are designed to form systems to communicate with each other as part of an interconnected network. This interconnectivity allows them to automate or remotely control different processes, such as turning off the lights or monitoring their backyard. IoT devices can collect and transmit informationlike almost any other electronic device.

The simplest type of IoT is radio frequency identification, or RFID, which is when devices send signals back and forth to indicate their location. Other devices grow in complexity as they use more bandwidth, streaming continuously over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks.



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The types of information that IoT devices collect and transmit

IoT devices collect data for automation, like when you tell your smart thermostat how many hours you’re away from home and when to heat your bedroom. All data collected forms an impression of how you use your devices so that the devices can begin to predict behavior patterns. This can lead to better predictions, as well as highly targeted marketing, which represents the highest and often controversial value captured by Amazon and other corporations operating IoT products.



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How IoT data is used

A variety of industries use data from IoT devices. Companies can use current location data from devices like smart watches to create profiles of users’ daily commutes, as well as locations travelers avoid due to service interruptions or construction.

Logistics companies can use RFID and GPS data from containers to identify efficiencies and sell shipments at lower cost. Utilities can use data from a consumer’s thermostat to help adjust the grid for lower energy use based on time of day, seasonality, and sudden changes in temperature. As robots and other devices integrate enhanced RFID technology, manufacturers hope to combine IoT with artificial intelligence to revolutionize the way they measure and improve the performance of their machinery.



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Risks to your device network

We’ve seen the ways that IoT can improve consumer experiences and change industries, but What about security risks?? In general, the more IoT devices and networks that interact with your life, the higher the risks that one of them could be attacked by hackers. Despite precautions such as Wi-Fi router encryption and network password changes, there is always the possibility that hackers could intercept data being transmitted by smart devices.

There’s also an added risk that hackers could send false or malicious data to the devices themselves, such as changing your thermostat to overheat your home or reprogramming your built-in GPS that you use for directions. In an example of IoT security vulnerabilities, a teenage hacker recently claims to have infiltrated dozens of Tesla electric vehicles in 13 countries due to owners failing to protect their configuration.

News in recent years has highlighted how data collected by devices and smartphones can reveal sensitive sites, protection protocols for important figures, or even military troop locations on the battlefield. In 2018, Wired and the Washington Post reported that FitBit smartwatches worn by deployed US special forces personnel during training were of major concern to the Pentagon, after data linked to a smartwatch fitness app exposed the locations of sensitive bases in Afghanistan and Syria.

This story originally appeared on secure IoT
and was produced and distributed in association with Stacker Studio.


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