Consumers International and the Internet Society have launched a new consumer awareness campaign on Internet of Things security and privacy including a fun, educational film and a set of five tips to help consumers connect SMART:

“Smart products in our home

The number of active connected consumer products is rapidly increasing but unfortunately, many are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections. Without basic standards of security and privacy, these products can give someone with minimal hacking skills access to cameras and microphones, personal information, or even the ability to communicate directly with children or adults in the house. These products can also function as a gateway to other smart devices in the home.

There is currently no effective regulation of these products, and little consumer understanding of how they function or their faults.

New video - Consumer Society TV “the Buggle Baby Monitor”

The 90-second video aims to raise consumer awareness about some of the security issues with smart devices in the home and help people to connect SMART! The video can be viewed here.

New consumer tips - Connect Smart

To help consumers understand the issue and give them some practical advice about how to protect themselves, and connect SMART, we have also created some practical tips.

S – search for potential security and privacy issues before buying
Search the product online for reviews or news articles that identify security or privacy issues. Check whether you can make your device more secure by changing the password and adjusting the privacy settings. Confirm if the device receives regular software updates so any security vulnerabilities can be fixed.

M – make strong, unique passwords for each device
Generic default passwords can be easily identified and allow attackers to gain access. Set strong, unique passwords for each device, service and your home router. The longer the password the better; mix upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to increase the strength.

A – adjust settings for maximum security and privacy
Many devices and services come with minimal security protection by default and collect significant amounts of important information about you – so change your settings for greater security and privacy. Also plan to reset your device regularly. If attackers do access your device, malicious code is often stored in memory and a reset will clear it. If you become aware of an incident that may affect your device, visit the manufacturer’s website or contact the retailer where you bought it for information on what to do next.

R – regularly update software
If the device or app has an auto-update feature, turn it on. Find out how to check for software updates for each device and do it once a month. Most companies will release updates when they patch security vulnerabilities. Also accept updates for the apps on your mobile phone that control your device.

T – turn off features you don’t need and device when not in use
Lots of features on your device can continue to monitor you even when you don’t expect or need them to. To avoid this, disable cameras, microphones, or location tracking apps when you are not actively using them. And, if you are not using the device, turn it off.

You can find out more at www.connect-smart.org.

Our work on securing consumer trust in the Internet of Things

Alongside our work to empower consumers on this issue, we’re also working with manufacturers, retailers, and regulators to create safer, and more privacy respecting products. See our work here.”

Posted
AuthorRay Dennis