NCSAM Week 3: Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet

Colleagues:

With compounding growth of connected technologies –cars, household appliances, finances, healthcare, and more being increasingly managed by smart devices –we are confronted with the need for increased awareness to secure cutting-edge, technical innovations. Week 4 looks to the future and discusses how cybersecurity is being built into advanced technology along with areas of opportunity for individuals to operate securely in a digital society.

Is there anything we can’t accomplish through our smart phones? From online shopping and banking to adjusting the thermometer; from tracking ours steps to tracking the contents of our refrigerators, and everything in between. Through our phones we can turn on our ovens, our lights, our cars. These features come at the touch of a “button,” and provide people with a level of convenience and ease never seen before. Use of connected devices is growing:

  • 1.8 billion: the number of smartphone users
  • 50 billion: the number of connected devices expected by 2020 (that’s 1 person to every 7 devices)
  • $5 trillion: the amount the connected device market is expected to grow over the next 6 years

As more devices and objects become connected to the Internet –from phones and tablets to homes, vehicles, and medical devices –it is important to realize that the security of these devices is not always guaranteed. Here are steps you can take to protect yourself when using your connected devices:

  • Secure your accounts. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site, such as two-factor authentication.
  • Secure your device. In order to prevent theft and unauthorized access, use a passcode to lock your device, lock it when it is not in use, and never leave it unattended in a public place.
  • Use encryption. Most smartphones and other devices now have the option to encrypt their data. This helps prevent access to your information (contacts, pictures, etc.) in case your device is lost or stolen.
  • Disable remote connectivity. Some mobile devices are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can connect to other devices. Disable these features when they are not in use.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark it as ‘junk email’ so you no longer receive emails from this sender.

It’s also important to look toward the future. As new “smart” devices and Internet-connected technology are introduced, it is easy to get caught up in the novelty and overlook security. Before you adopt new devices or services, do the following:

  • Understand what kind of information is being shared, and what options you have to limit this sharing.
  • Make sure your home Internet networks –where most of your devices will connect from –is secure.

Each week in October we will provide helpful tips and information to promote cybersecurity in your professional and personal lives. Please let us know if you have any questions and as always…

If you’re not sure it’s safe to click, download or install, please contact us or your local IT unit!  Call 970-491-5037 or email us at WCNR_IT_Support@mail.colostate.edu