The internet of things (IoT) refers to objects and devices which are connected to a network such as the internet and which use the network to communicate with each other or make information available. Such an object may, for instance, be a webcam, network-attached storage (NAS), or a modem. But also intelligent light switches, refrigerators, or smart TVs connected to an internal network or the internet via a network interface may be included.
Effects and Risks
More or less intelligent devices like these are increasingly connected to the internet. This increases not only the number of communication participants in the internet, but also the number of vulnerable devices that can be misused by hackers. These devices are then used to send spam emails, for instance, or to carry out attacks on other internet users (e.g. DDoS).
Devices like these must be protected (using individual passwords, restricted access) and also regularly updated. Updates should be performed as soon as possible when critical vulnerabilities in the software of these devices are discovered and can be exploited by hackers. But unlike in the case of desktop computers or smartphones, hardly anyone remembers that these devices need software updates as well.
An even greater potential threat is posed by objects and devices that can be accessed via the internet using standard access data (username and password). These devices can in principle be found by anyone (such as using a port scan or a search engine like Shodan).