Recently reports surfaced that a Internet of Things device, the Nest Thermostat, was leaking information about a homeowners zip code and location, in the clear! The information was not encrypted!
If you own a Nest, the leak has been plugged!
TheOldManSays that while this incident represented a limited potential for a hacker to recover information it opens the door to think about other more serious leaks. A serious potential leak is actually the ISP you are currently using to connect to the internet. The ISP (Internet Service Provider) will routinely ask you to share your browsing history.
Certain ISP will offer you some form of inducement to share; perhaps a discount code, lower rate or a free to try service.
For example, AT&T already offers a discount to customers of its fiber to the home plan if customers elect to share information about which sites they surf to with the ISP for marketing purposes.
The FCC is attempting to amend and update their Network Neutrality rules that were issued in 2015. This is in response to several consumer based organizations and groups that are urging a stronger mandate for data collection and utilization be included in the rules.
There is a moniker for the data: Customer Proprietary Network Information, or CPNI, that can include a lot of personal information. It may include the customers name and address and whether or not the customer is home, based on an active vs idle network connection. And if you are using that favorite mobile device on a WiFi network, the data can track where you are, where you have been and establish patterns when you are away from your primary residence! The data can track the websites you visit and even indicate your purchasing preferences.
TheOldManSays that you are putting out the information, but it is the responsibility of the ISP to ensure that data is protected. And as a consumer you should be screaming to the manufacturers and providers to provide encryption to protect that data! The ISP is continually looking for avenues that lead to making money from the data it collects. Has been that way and will always be that way. The FCC has to step in and insure that the consumer has the protection that they deserve.
And you have to bear some responsibility! Step up and do the following:
- Update the firmware and software on ALL your devices when the updates are available!
- Change the administrator password from the factory default on each piece of equipment.
- Install and update the latest anti virus software on ALL your devices.