The Internet of things – much bigger than we think

16-12-15 16:25 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

The Internet of things (IoT) is here, and it’s growing rapidly. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most people have not heard of the term, even though we are surrounded by it all the time. Actually, the first device to be connected was an ATM in 1987, and some predict that we will have up to 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

So what is the Internet of things?

Simply put, it’s devices that can connect to the internet (and/or to each other). This can be cell phones, coffee- or washing machines, smart TVs, cars, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.

When you’re at work, you can, for instance, tell your washing machine to start washing so that it’s already done when you get home. You could start brewing your morning coffee while still in bed, and even control your car remotely via your smart phone. It sounds pretty comfortable and awesome to me and will save you valuable time.

All that glimmers is not gold

In October, a hacker group manipulated surveillance cameras in order to perform a DDos (Distributed Denial of Service) attack towards Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, just to mention a few. Luckily it didn't cause any major damage; it was mainly an inconvenience for the users who weren’t able to use the apps.

But what if the hackers attacked your home security alarm system so that it’s unable to alert you in case of a burglary, emergency and public services are unreachable, or your apartment’s heating system or your webcam get hacked? As we know, the web cameras pick up both audio and video… These are of course worst-case scenarios, and you can’t protect yourself from everything.

But there are some things you can do. Are you planning on buying a new computer or a smart TV? Find out how secure your equipment is and what supports it; make sure you keep the device’s software, browser and your virus programme updated; and, most of all, change default passwords!

/Anna-Karin Kjellgren, Fraud Management at Nordea.

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