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Do your house hold appliances talk to the internet?

Discover more about the rise in cybercrime against a variety of devices.

by Emma Whitcroft

I was listening to the ‘Today Programme’ on Radio 4, and they were discussing a report by the National Cyber Security Centre and the National Crime Agency which said that phones, watches, TVs, and fitness trackers can potentially be targeted by hackers.

What did make smile was when they mentioned that all sorts of devices can connect to the internet these days, from washing machines to fridge freezers, and I think it was John Humphreys who incredulously asked why on earth a fridge-freezer would need to talk to the internet.

Is the Internet of Things a fad, or the future?

There is a growing trend for MicroApps that perform a small set of specific, related tasks and can quickly adapt to an ever-changing environment. These range from generic tools such as to-do lists and reminders to custom apps developed internally for specific business requirements. They have the advantage that they are quick to scope and develop, easier to deploy than bulky enterprise systems, and don’t require extensive training. While these new and often web-enabled systems are convenient, they’re not always designed with security in mind.

Part of the reason for this is simple - they’re not seen as a target for attack. If people are asking why kitchen appliances need to communicate with the internet, it seems even more unlikely that anyone would want to hack them. However, as these devices become more commonplace (you can even buy lightbulbs that can connect to the internet, so they can be turned on from an app), the likelihood of people trying to access them will only increase.

It is arguable that the worst that could happen is that someone could maliciously turn the lights on or off in the case of the web-enabled lightbulb, but in the case of watches and fitness trackers, you could find that your location information and other personal data could be at risk.

At Castrum, we don’t connect your fridge freezer to the internet. But we do connect you to your colleagues, business partners and customers, whether they are on an internal network or on the internet. Security and protection of data is always a fundamental concern, and never an afterthought.

Get in touch with the Castrum team to find out how we could help your business improve communication in a secure environment.