Let’s get SMART

The Tip

This holiday season, many of us will be buying or receiving gifts that are ’Smart’ and will be internet connected and a part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Whether it’s a television or a personal assistant, fitness tracker or home security device, or even a child’s toy, these devices can greatly enhance our day-to-day lives but also come with a risk and a responsibility.

The Detail

It’s an unfortunate fact that many of these devices are rushed to market without adequate consideration or testing for even the most basic security and privacy issues. It’s up to us as consumers to make informed decisions when buying and using these products. Fortunately, these products generally improve over time. There are also watch-dog groups that aim to not only inform us, but also advocate on our behalf with manufacturers, retailers, and regulators.

One such organization is CONNECTSMART, a member of Consumers International and the Internet Society advocacy groups. They publish a series of awareness videos and tips at https://www.connect-smart.org/.

Taken directly from their website, the following 5 tips will help us all stay SMART.

  • SEARCH – for potential security and privacy issues before buying.
  • MAKE – strong, unique passwords for each device.
  • ADJUST – settings for maximum security and privacy.
  • REGULARLY – update software.
  • TURN OFF – features you don’t need and the device when not in use.

Please visit the CONNECTSMART website for more details on each of these points, as well as videos and further information.