Each day, I get up and largely ignore the news. I tend to ignore CNBC or Bloomberg or other media outlets while enjoying silence (the most underrated human condition) before 7:30 am. Why ruin my favorite hours with the world around me?
Well, this morning, I errored. While aiming to check the schedule for a sporting event, I happened upon CBS This Morning, the ideal breakfast show for anyone who enjoys copious amounts of chardonnay before the day begins to offset most tales brewing out of their editorial rooms.
Today’s Newest Panic: The “Internet of Things”.
“A newly-revealed technical flaw could affect everyday gadgets found in most homes,” CBS later Tweeted. “Now, tech firms are rushing to get ahead of criminals, who could potentially gain full access to computer systems around the world.”
The story goes like this: Your smart refrigerator, your smart television, your smart thermostat, and smart watch are all highly vulnerable to hackers aiming to attack your home, find a way into your finances, and do real damage to your way of life.
The problem is that most manufacturers relied on open source coding when developing the network for various functions. Instead, they should be developing their own proprietary code.
As a result, hackers can attempt to compromise each smart device in the house that is connected to the Internet of Things. People flipped out on the internet over this story. And what a way to start the day with the news, huh? Just imagine hundreds of men unplugging every device in the house. I can see some more panicked individuals flushing themselves down the toilet.
I just sat there, armed with the knowledge that I have. Yes, there are vulnerabilities, but that largely falls on people who do stupid things with their passwords or networks. If you get Comcast and leave the automatic password “comcast4321” as your password permanently, then you can’t be saved. And if you aren’t using dual-factor authentication on your bank accounts even in a Fort Knox scenario, you’re far more likely to become a victim.
While companies will now center their attention on better source code and improving protection, I’m sure that Congress will get involved to save us all from this menace, even though no one seems to even understand how the internet works… (Remember“It’s a series of tubes…?”)
What to Do
This is an important story. Not because parents are now ripping all the smart devices out of the wall. Or because grandparents are now recounting this story over Early Bird dinner down here in Florida.
It’s important because a new trend is on the horizon that will solve this issue. Have you heard of Cybersecurity Mesh? It’s an emerging technology that will create significant protections for every single device connected to the Internet of Things. It will be a process, but companies like Crowdstrike, Palo Alto Networks, and Fortinet are at the lead of this trend. And all three had a nice pop this morning after the latest media-fueled freak out over these security lapses.
There’s no reason to start pulling everything out of the wall. And there’s no reason to panic. Be smart about your home technology. Use all the tools you can to protect yourself. But certainly enjoy the benefits of these devices and their improvement in your standard of living. Humans seem to create the problems in the world and technology fixes them. It has been that way for hundreds of years. It’s not going to change any time soon.