4 ways to stay safe in the internet of things era

“Alexa, pay my bills.” While consumers love the convenience of connected devices to make everyday tasks like bill paying and shopping easy, they may not enjoy the potential fraud risks that come with it. The growing number of connected “things” in consumers’ lives means the threat from unsecured devices grows as well.

By their very nature, Internet of Things (IoT) devices are easy for hackers to find. In fact, there is an entire search engine built specifically to find these gadgets. Called Shodan, it allows users to determine which devices are connected to the Internet, where they are located and who is using them. One researcher, curious to see how long it would take for a hacker to find his smart toaster, discovered an attacker on his device less than a day after plugging it in.

Fortunately, there are a number of measures consumers and credit unions alike can take to keep their IoT technology secure. I highlighted a few of them in my recent white paper, “Security Concerns in the Internet of Banking Things.” They include:

  • Securing devices in layers – Using multiple factors for authentication, where one of the factors is biometric in nature, is gaining traction as a best practice.

  • Changing passwords and installing updates – It’s increasingly important for device owners to change the default passwords that come with their IoT devices. Just as important is installing device updates, which often contain patches for known security vulnerabilities, as they become available.  

  • Thinking beyond the device – The IoT dictates we think about the security not only of the gadget, but of the apps loaded to it, the network powering it, the servers connected to it and the technology driving it (e.g., cloud-based solutions).

  • Remember the basics – Connected devices are only as safe as the router and/or WiFi network they are attached to. IoT technology users have to practice basic WiFi and network connection security, such as good passwords, solid encryption and frequent software updates.

A connected world in which devices and artificial intelligence make everyday decisions for consumers is within view – and that extends to financial transactions and banking choices. Credit unions are right to optimistically explore the technology’s potential to improve experiences and deepen relations – so long as that exploration includes the security and controls consumers expect.

Ashley Town

Ashley Town

Ashely Town is Director of Fraud Services for CO-OP Financial Services (www.co-opfs.org), a provider of payments and financial technology to credit unions. She can be reached at ashley.... Web: https://www.co-opfs.org Details