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Mo' tech, mo' problems - 70 Percent of Internet of Things Devices Are Vulnerable to Hacking

Joshua Fairfield, a Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University highlights the major system flaw - Internet-enabled devices are becoming more and more common and thus, more vulnerable to hackers. In fact, about 70 percent of all Internet of Things devices are susceptible to getting hacked or compromised, according to a recent study released by Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Such devices go as far as to include security cameras, routers, TVs, doorbell and window lock systems, fridges, toasters, coffee machines, electronic picture frames, humidifiers, baby and pet monitors, lawnmowers, cars, night lights, and a variety of children's toys. 

While these connected technologies provide new and exciting possibilities, it also brings challenges – the biggest of which listed by Fairfield below:

  • Security and privacy breaches
  • Ownership
  • Control over Intellectual property 

There’s now an urgent need for manufacturers and other organisations to review their own practices and develop safeguards to stop hacks from happening (and the PR nightmare waiting to happen alongside it). 

But more so - it is important we recognise what is happening and play our part by exercising a little common sense. Many vulnerabilities of devices have something to do with a lack of password strength and weak protection software. Take a proactive approach with the security of your devices to reduce the chance that you and your many IoT devices, will be the next victims. 

We can see the problem with “internet of things” devices: We don’t really control them. And it’s not always clear who does – though often software designers and advertisers are involved. In my recent book, “Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom,” I discuss what it means that our environment is seeded with more sensors than ever before. Our fish tanks, smart televisions, internet-enabled home thermostats, Fitbits and smartphones constantly gather information about us and our environment. That information is valuable not just for us but for people who want to sell us things. They ensure that internet-enabled devices are programmed to be quite eager to share information.

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