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IoT Devices – Good or Bad?

Going into 2020 we can see the considerable increase in the use of IoT devices both in personal life and work life. These devices can make your life considerably easier and more efficient, but are they a threat?

The Good

Google Home & Amazon Alexa are very common in households now, with people using these devices to make their lives easier. Whether its starting a timer or creating a shopping list these IoT devices are always on hand to help. The ease of connection and ease of use makes them accessible for almost everyone to find value out of.

Smart kettles and smart plugs are getting more common now also. The ease of turning the kettle on from your sofa or your desk saves time (and the effort of getting up and going to the kitchen). Smart plugs are perfect for when you’re not at home and you want to turn the lights.

The Bad

Back to Google Home & Amazon Alexa, for these devices to work they rely on a wake-up message. For them to hear this wake-up message they must be listening for it. Which in turn means that they are always listening. Whether it is a private conversation at home or a confidential conversation at work Google Home & Amazon Alexa are listening for the wake-up message. Scary thought, right? You can change the settings so that it doesn’t listen until you use the app on your phone but that does take away some of the efficiency of the product. Both Google and Amazon say that nothing is recorded until the wake up message has occurred, but could there be something going on in the background that has been recorded? Food for thought.

Similarly, with the Kettle and Plug you have to consider the downsides. There are an abundance of these products on the market with varied prices. The cheaper ones are definitely the more dangerous ones to buy. Doing research into whether these devices have been Penetration Tested is of paramount importance. Last year, during a Cyber Security Workshop, one of our pen testers identified a flaw in a TP Link Smart Plug where he could get into the network because there was a vulnerability in the smart plug. Everybody needs to do the research and buy IoT devices that not only make life easier but are secure!

We will be running another Cyber Security Workshop on the 27th of February in Liverpool where we will have some demonstrations about IoT devices and many more things. If you are interested, please fill out the contact form below and we will keep you up to date.

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