In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the proliferation of IoT also known as Internet of Things, or “Smart” devices. These devices range from personal assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home to devices that serve no real use such as WiFi-enabled “Smart Refridgerators” and “Smart Toasters.” There’s even the infamous smart bag-squeezer Juicero which – thankfully – failed spectacularly.
With all these new “Smart” devices making their way into the consumer home, they bring with them a massive amount of privacy and security concerns. Some devices may be configured intentionally to spy and gather data about you, to be used for who-knows-what later. Other devices may be unintentionally configured to be insecure, with their ability to connect to the internet being a weakness that allows others to hijack control of them and incorporate them into their botnet or invade your personal life.
And you thought someone watching your webcam was scary.
In the 21st century, we live in a society where we leave footprints everywhere we go – digital footprints. Maybe you used Amazon to search for a product and suddenly ads for it start appearing on every website you visit, offering you a discount. Perhaps you own an Instagram account, which is owned by Facebook Inc, which has been revealed, unsurprisingly, to collect your data and sell it to other companies such as in the Cambridge Analytica incident.
Data has become increasingly valuable over these past couple years, and many websites have taken advantage of this, collecting data about their user’s habits, history, and purchases. Some companies may use this data to predict products their customers would like and present it to them, in a targeted marketing campaign. Other companies may see the data as a product, to be sold to other companies and data brokers, who then use that data for their less than ethical agendas.
In the modern age, everybody has an online account for something and everything. Are you a gamer? Maybe you have an Epic Games or Steam account. Maybe you’re a shopper? eBay or Amazon may be your go-to websites. Just casually browsing the web? You’re still quite likely to have an email account, perhaps Gmail or even Yahoo Mail.
These online accounts have made our lives more convenient than ever before – purchasing goods online, streaming videos and music, and even ordering food. However, as with everything else, they also have their drawbacks.
As soon as you had created your first email account, you introduced yourself as a target to cyber criminals everywhere. Why? It’s simple – your accounts are worth money. Not all accounts are created equal, however, and they may be targeted for different reasons.