While we, at IndianWeb2, have always strived towards keeping you up-to-date with IoT and its happenings over the years, today we would like to open your eyes and your brain to a new concept – ‘IDIoT’ (Incredibly Dangerous Internet of Things).
Man invented appliances like TV, refrigerator, toaster etc. for making life more entertaining and easier for them. While most of the devices we invest our hard-earned money in are reliable and don’t give so much trouble in their initial year of purchase, the one device which is possibly the most unreliable of all them is a personal computer. Yes, your very own personal computer isn’t that personal actually. Ironical, right?
The thing which makes our computers different from all the other appliances that we use on a daily basis, is the World Wide Web. While on one hand, internet does open our brains to a world of knowledge, it also ends up opening the gates of our privacy to hackers online.
While reading the above paragraph, you might have thought, “I’m absolutely secure as I have purchased and installed the latest anti-virus software currently in the market.” But, here’s the catch, you need to worry too. The hackers active nowadays are much more clever than you think. They often bait their targets into letting them in, or disclose their own sensitive information to them. This particular practice is known as “Social Engineering”. The hackers are up-to-date in their knowledge of the vulnerabilities of almost all the computer hardware and software, and exploit their these shortcomings even before your anti-virus software catches a clue.
But, still, we’re ready to spend a considerable amount of money on purchasing the best anti-virus protection for our beloved computers. It seems, somehow we have become accustomed to the fact that in order to keep a computer running and one’s data secure, one will have to go thoroughly this expensive ordeal. It’s interesting to note that a computer is the only appliance that requires our utmost attention, but we still comply with it and don’t complain or crib about it much.
We can witness computer technology at play at various instances in our day-to-day lives. Whether it is our appliances, or even our automobiles, all have computer technology as an important element. Our cars have had computers at work for many years now. They have been doing a number of tasks like running the dashboard display, monitoring sensors, detecting problems, and controlling battery charging etc. But, these computers are reliable because they are in no way grid connected. Since they’re not connected to the grid, the hackers have not remote entry point. Grid connected cars, on the other hand, offers its users features such as remote starting, remote unlocking, and traffic reports in real-time. Such features are impossible to use without remote connections. However, have you ever wondered how dangerous can these grid connected cars be? Under test conditions, these grid connected cars have easily been hacked. This is the reason, millions of vehicles have been recalled. If this hacking of grid connected cars takes place in real-life, it would spell a havoc. Further, it doesn’t have to be your car which is hacked. You might be happily driving in your car which isn’t grid-connected, but a hacked grid-connected car might still come in your way completely out of control.
When hackers come together, or have zombie computers at work focused towards a coordinated attack, it’s known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDS) attack. Typically, this refers to a single website or company, just imagine a DDS-like attack on grid connected cars. This could lead to a large percentage of cars going completely out of control, and causing mass casualties.
The remote starting feature of automobiles is another security threat associated with them. If you park your grid connected car in a closed garbage, which is attached to your house, there’s a slight possibility for carbon monoxide poisoning. Just imagine, if a hacker gets hold of your car and starts your car, at night, when everyone is sleeping. It wouldn’t take the deadly carbon monoxide a long time to spread to every room of your house. While some remote start systems might come with safety features, but can we really trust technology that much? Not only this, connected cars can also be used to track its owners movements.
There might come time in the near future that we will have to apply security patches to our vehicles, and visit the dealership to get viruses removed. It’s very unfortunate that the computer industry still hasn’t been able to provide us with hacker-proof products.
Cars aren’t the only thing that should concern us. Our so-called “smart appliances” are also part of an overall Smart Grid strategy. One of the major benefits of the Smart Gird is that it reduce electricity usage during high demand period. This not only benefits the consumer, but is useful to the provider as well. Nowadays, almost every appliance is available to us as a smart appliance. Together known as the “Internet of Things”, or IoT, a majority of these devices offer their customers very limited value. For example, a smart refrigerator might help in reducing your bill almost by half, but other than that, it has very little to offer. There might come a time that these smart refrigerators will be able to tell us when the food is about to go bad. That would be a useful feature indeed. But, what if, some hacker gets hold of your refrigerator and tricks you into feeding yourself and your family spoiled food. Just imagine; you’re own refrigerator can poison you and your entire family.
Here’s a thought. Why not instead of going for the expensive smart refrigerator, buy a standard model refrigerator, and adjust its thermostat to the highest temperature setting that still provides an adequate level of cooling? Clearly, it isn’t necessary to go the grid connected way in order to save money.
Did you know that even some of the camera-based home security systems that we bank on so much are grid connected. You might be thinking that you’re the only one who can access the camera’s video feed, but unfortunately, you might be wrong. Hackers can easily hack your grid-connected security cameras and keep an eye on your every move. Scary, isn’t it?
The one thing that can help you protect your privacy in such cases is your user name and password. Nowadays, there are software to “crack” passwords. So, choose your user name and password very wisely.
While we are on the subject of security, it would be interesting for you to know that someone might be watching you right now via your laptop’s built-in web cam. Even is it isn’t on. Yes, hackers can do that. Therefore, it is recommended to cover your web cams by tapes whenever they’re not in use. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg does the same to protect his privacy.
The conclusion here is, an overly connected world is a dangerous world. If human beings wish to avoid all the aforementioned deadly scenarios, we must work towards reducing our dependence on technology in our day-to-day lives.
[Top Image – Shutterstock]
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