Protect your privacy while using the Internet of Things

January 27, 2017

By 2020, the world will have 24 billion IoT devices. IoT, also known as the Internet of Things, refers to anything that connects to the internet in order to send and receive information. For instance, thermostats can now be adjusted from a smartphone and calorie counters can automatically post your results to an online application. Other examples include Internet protocol (IP) cameras used for security (baby monitors), and home appliances that connect to Wi-Fi.

Although these devices have the ability to make our daily lives easier, they also provide more opportunities for hackers and cyber criminals to access our personal and private information. This means that we should take precautions to decrease the risk of our security being compromised. 

There are three primary areas in which cyber criminals use IoT to access confidential information. These include:  wireless equipment, smartphones/tablets, and connected cars. Using malware, hackers can turn devices into remotely-controlled "bots”. These “bots” can be used to spread viruses, and cause a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) against other systems.

It is suggested that you protect your home network by changing the default usernames and passwords for all devices that connect to your home Wi-Fi. Using up-to-date security software on your home computer and connected devices can also increase your protection against cybercrime. 

When securing your devices,  make sure to enable a lock screen password. Most users can find out how to do this by accessing their device’s general setting functions. When downloading apps, it is important to know what personal information is being collected and why it’s needed. Updating your device’s operating system can also help protect your privacy and prevent cyber attacks.

Newer car models are being installed with computer systems that have the ability to provide drivers with hands-free calling, GPS, and entertainment applications. Security breaches in cars are becoming more common as hackers can access personal information, such as your location.

To avoid these security risks, remember to turn off  your car’s “smart” functions when they are not in use, and check with your car dealership to ensure the installation of these functions are safe and secure.

There are many advantages to having smart devices – they can be fun, help you become more efficient, give you peace of mind, and free you from tedious tasks. However, keep in mind that if you can access personal data remotely, a cybercriminal can too!

Follow Get Cyber Safe on Twitter and Facebook.


By submitting a comment, you agree to have Public Safety Canada collect the comment and publish it on this website (comment policy).


Ria Harracksingh

Great article with helpful timely given January 28 is Data Privacy Day!

Jen M

The IoT makes things convenient but we have to remember safety first. This is a great post, lots of useful tips, and it was very well written!

Date modified: