Internet of Things, a term coined in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, is a fairly new concept that is spreading through the IT world like fire. It has caused excitement and panic across many people who are not familiar with the terms. As the reach of IoT increases, a lot of people are confused by many different things that they may come across, giving way for a lot of misconceptions to rise.
The term ‘Internet of Things’ is a broad concept that covers multiple devices, however has one important crux. IoT refers to devices that can connect to the internet and are computing devices embedded in everyday objects, that can send and receive data across the web and to other devices.
The future for IoT is extremely promising and is expected to increase to 30 billion devices in the market by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing phenomenons of this century. With implications this big, we should definitely clear up as many misconceptions as we can.
Here are 8 different misconceptions that we’ve come across:
Misconception 1: – IoT is limited to data collection/consumer products
Fact: – A lot of people believe that IoT is only related to collecting data, something along the lines of Big Data. This has often been fueled by the fact that IoT is commonly used along with Big Data. However, IoT is not only limited to collection of data. It is actually related to the exchange of data between devices and how they are connected to the internet. These devices can include any electronics or gadgets that fall under the smart category, some of them in the consumer product section such as TVs, fridges, etc. However, it is not only limited to these categories, but can expand to other sectors such as cars, smart grids, power plants, and so on.
Misconception 2: IoT Devices are secure
Fact: – Another misconception that we’ve found is that people believe all IoT devices are safe or rather they underestimate that the devices can be unsafe. IoT devices are often insecure, because of their need for constant connection to the internet making it vulnerable for hacking if the network is hacked as well. IoT devices do have layers of security, but it does not mean that as a consumer you should not take extra precautions when it comes to your personal data. People should ensure that they do not share any private data through networks that have vulnerabilities.
Misconception 3: IoT Devices compromise your safety
Fact: – We have also heard the opposite of the above misconception, with people believing that IoT devices are unsafe devices, which is why many people refrain from conducting their banking activities on their phones or even through netbanking. However, IoT devices are not always unsafe. They come with layers of security, which ensure that majority of your data is safe as long as you take appropriate precautions. Banking apps ensure that they have other procedures such as SSL certificates, end-to-end encryption, time-out, etc. that keep their systems as secure as possible. However, always remember that you not provide your password, CVV code, or ATM pin to any banking member, as this is one of the easiest ways for hackers to get access to your accounts.
Misconception 4: IoT Devices can only be connected to corporate networks by IT teams
Fact: – This situation comes up in many organizations, where people believe that IoT devices can only be connected to the corporate networks by the IT team, however, they fail to take into consideration that any external devices (hard drives, pen drives, phones) they connect to the PC or even if they connect their phones to the office’s Wi-Fi network counts as an IoT device connected to the corporate network. Any device that is connected by an employee that hasn’t been checked out by the IT team, can often be a gateway for malicious activity.
Misconception 5: Hardware Devices are secure
Fact: – Another misconception that we commonly come across is that hardware devices are more secure than software. However, that is not always the case. Hardware devices are just as much prone to security fails than software, sometimes more. Software allows developers to send security updates in the form of patches through the internet, while the hardware security becomes old and outdated as time passes. This makes software slightly more secure than hardware. However, you can definitely also download and install updates for your hardware devices and take other measures to ensure that your hardware device is secure.
Misconception 6: It is okay to connect multiple devices to the same networks
Fact: – This has become a prevailing concern for people and happens more commonly than you think. People end up connecting multiple devices to the same network, which diminishes the security of that network and increases chances of viruses leaking through or hackers getting access. Modern routers come with options to split your network into multiple accounts, which means that you can now connect your phones and laptops to one network, while connecting your TV and fridge and AC to another network. Dividing your networks for devices, ensures that one infected device does not compromise the security of your other devices on the same network.
Misconception 7: It is okay to directly plug and play devices
Fact: – Plug and play devices have become a new phenomenon, which includes devices that you can directly plug in and start using, or devices that have the permissions to access your network when in the vicinity. These devices include smartphones, smartwatches, sports bands, gaming devices, etc. They have direct access to your network, and do not require inputting additional passwords. However, the major problem that comes with these devices is that they create vulnerabilities that allow hackers access to the entire networks through these devices.
Misconception 8: Your data is public domain
Fact: – This misconception has been keeping a lot of people from completely embracing technology into their lives. A lot of people believe that any data that you sent through across on the internet is available to the general public. However, this isn’t always true. A majority of information that you send to companies are recorded on their servers, which are inaccessible to the general public, unless hacked. Data also collected by the sensors on the IoT devices are definitely only recorded by the companies for providing a better product, and is not made public. Additionally, there are also apps that perform end-to-end encryption such as Whatsapp or Snapchat – that don’t save any of your sent data on their servers. However, the information on public forums or social media websites are accessible to the public, so you should ensure that you only put the data that you would be okay sharing with strangers.
Technology comes with a lot of misconceptions as the information is either confusing or limited. While, technology is not something that one should be scared of, it is something that one should be vary of. Technology does limit our privacy to a certain extent, but it does help the technology understand what you want better, resulting in a product that is more attuned to your needs. The best part is that when it comes to technology, you decide how much information you want to provide.
These are just a few of the misconceptions that we have come across or have received, but if you have any other misconceptions that need clearing or if any questions that you want answered, please don’t hesitate to drop us a message in the comments sections below.