How Secure is Your System (Internet of Things)

Recently I read an article in PCMag about how secure is the Internet of Things? by Eric Griffith. Great article and kudos to him. This is a summary with my takeaway.

Let's be clear about the term "System" in this blog title. System could include anything in your house that is high-tech such as a microwave, toaster (yes, some of the more expensive ones qualify), TV, PC, tablet, smartphone (these last 3 obviously), car (definitely), and I won't go on, but you get the idea. A more definitive term and buzz-phrase is The Internet of Things.

It is now possible for hackers to hack into the above mentioned items you own. Yes, common household items are fair game. What used to be the realm of PCs has slowly transitioned to the aforementioned. So the bottom line is, how secure is it?

Alex Balan, Bitdefender's Chief Security Researcher at NSA says to look for a Bug Bounty program. Companies that subscribe are having specialized companies investigate their products for a potential hacker's exploit. Since they tell the company if there's a problem and how to fix it, if your product's company is listed, you're fairly safe, since the company is taking measures, including paying very large fees to uncover any unknown bugs.

Who are some big-time companies having their security vulnerabilities checked? Would you believe the U.S. government Dept of Defense? And there are other heavyweights including Microsoft, Google, United Airlines, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple.

Technology is here to stay, but as with many good things, there often exists a mixed bag.


IRS / NSA Privacy Concerns

Unless you have been living in the far reaches of the Amazon jungle, out of touch with society, I'm sure you all are aware of the recent Federal organizations in the news. Specifically, I'm referring to the IRS and the NSA (National Security Agency). These news events have caused all of us to consider the far-reaching ramifications and effect it will have on each of us. My concern is more focused on the IRS than the NSA.

We all know now that the NSA can monitor basically everything. They can read all of your emails, monitor your social media interactions such as with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. I would be more concerned with your online posture in these social media networks and how it relates with your political affiliations with certain organizations and possible targeting by the IRS. 

I'm sure as time goes on we will be hearing more details about these organizations and how far their powers will actually affect each of us. As far as privacy is concerned, there are web sites that maximize your online privacy and minimize intrusion into your life.

Sites That Maximize Your Online Privacy

Another thing you can do with your web browser is adjust your cookie settings. Deleting them would be unrealistic, but you can control the cookies that track you by blocking Third Party cookies. It's easily done by going into your browser settings.

Obviously, some of us have a stronger privacy concern than others. Please feel free to check out the above web sites and find something you feel comfortable with. I believe this list is a helpful alternative that will enable many of you to feel somewhat more comfortable about your future online experiences with the various social media. The issue is where to draw the line with your privacy concerns. Obviously millions of people use the Internet daily, and many of them need it for their work. Defining a workable privacy policy is one that allows you to continue to function online while incorporating a workable security posture.