LOUISVILLE, Ky. — From home security systems to smart speakers, the internet of things market has grown. Seventy-five billion devices will be connected by 2025, according to technology giant Cisco.

What You Need To Know

  • Hackers may compromise internet of things (IoT) devices to use them to attack other devices and networks

  • Hackers attempt to compromise IoT devices to get into your network

  • Hackers may try to steal data from a device

  • Hackers may use an IoT device to spy if it has a microphone or camera

Products like smart coffee makers, smart speakers, and smart TVs are popular, but they are also a target for hackers.

“Most of these things are privacy and security dumpster fires,” said Dave Hatter, a cybersecurity consultant with InTrustIT.

The aforementioned goods are examples of internet of things (IoT) devices. These are products that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies. While they do have helpful features, experts warn it is important for consumers to practice digital hygiene.

“If you’re not installing the software updates on those things or change the default password, you are saying, ‘please hack me,’ at least for that device,” said Hatter. “In many cases, hackers will try to use that device to get to other things on your network.”

One of the challenges for consumers is that they might not be used to seeking out software updates for products that aren’t computers or phones. 

Hatter said he isn’t telling you to steer clear of them. Instead, he advises Kentuckians to ask themselves if a smart device fits their needs and if it is what they are looking for. If the answer is yes, be sure to change the default password and be diligent about staying up to date with software patches. Hatter suggests an extra step if you wanted to be even more secure.

“You can put those IoT devices on a guest network so they don’t have direct access to other devices on your network, that way if it is hacked, it’ll reduce your exposure.”

Hatter recommends buying IoT devices from vendors and manufacturers that are known and trustworthy.