The number of internet of things (IoT) devices in our world continues to grow, and with it, so do the risks to cybersecurity. According to a Ponemon Institute study, many organizations believe there are at least 1,000 (IoT) devices in-house, while the actual number is closer to 15,000. “I get the sense that IoT is on the forefront of people’s minds, but I don’t get the sense that they know the true extent to which there’s these devices in their lives. I don’t think they fully know all of the things that are operating around them,” said Linda Thayer, a partner in Finnegan’s Boston office.
Thayer believes that people are aware that their cell phones and computers can become infected and compromise sensitive data. But other devices that form the backbone of a given workday, like wireless printers, may not be on their radar. While wireless printers utilize encryption, they can still be used to gain access to a network, making them the most vulnerable device after phones and computers. The dangers aren’t contained to the office, explained Thayer. “They can get into a [connected] rental car and program in their phone and connect and talk while in a rental car…You don’t know what can be captured.”
A lack of foresight, including reliance on default passwords or not taking the appropriate cybersecurity measures, can be blamed for many of the risks. The financial industry has been in the practice of hiring full-time security managers, and Thayer notes that law firms, along with many other business entities, are also moving in that direction to help mitigate the risks.