As helpful as it might be for your refrigerator to show you what you need when you’re not even home, there is a downside to a smart fridge like that, or any other “thing” that is connected to the internet. As with your computer, tablet, or smartphone, the Internet of Things increases your risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
About the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the system of everyday items connected online. They collect data about you, and they share data with you. All of this back-and-forth information can be hacked, the same way as any other internet-connected device.
While the contents of your fridge may seem like trivial information that no hacker would want anyway, that’s just one of many things Samsung’s The Family Hub does.
As you may have seen in the commercial featuring a married couple played by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, The Family Hub:
- Has three cameras that take pictures of everything in your fridge every time the door closes
- Allows you to use your smartphone to access these pictures anytime, from anywhere (i.e., at the grocery store when you’ve forgotten your list)
- Groceries by Mastercard app lets you place an order with your local grocer, right from your fridge
- Syncs your family’s calendars, so you always know where everyone is, where they’re going, or where they’re coming from (and when)
- Allows you to use your smartphone to send messages to The Family Hub
- Has a huge touchscreen on the outside of the refrigerator door that displays family photos, the family calendar, and your messages
The point is, all of this information is connected to the internet and, thus, subject to hacking. And this smart fridge is just one of countless everyday things connected to the internet these days, from cars, to clothes, to toys.
How to Protect Your Internet of Things
While there are no guaranteed ways of protecting yourself from fraud of any kind, there are several things you can do to minimize the risk in your Internet of Things. Experian’s Fraud and Identity team put together this list:
1) Ensure that the products and services being purchased and connected are from reputable companies.
2) Ensure that the providers of these products and services have clear privacy and data-usage policies.
3) Be aware that data from any smart device may make its way to third parties for a variety of purposes and that there are not always standard policies across providers.
4) Make sure that any access to these systems is always closely guarded.
5) Be aware of the applications installed on devices and download applications only from reputable providers, such as the iTunes App Store or Google Play, rather than gray-market app platforms. Also, only download apps created by trusted entities.
Tags: internet of things