The Internet of Things is already deeply changing our everyday lives. And often we do not even notice. From the convenience offered by a smart home to its residents, to individualized health services: IoT offers a lot of new prospects and opportunities. The Internet of Things is not a far-sighted future vision. It has already conquered our everyday life with many products and services: for instance remote controlled systems for heating and lighting as well as surveillance cameras and other networked devices should make our homes smart, more comfortable and safe. Wearables and Smartwatches capture our fitness data and help us to stay healthy or to become healthier. Even according to cautious estimates, the number of networked devices worldwide will increase to in between 25 and 100 billion devices by the year 2020.

The fact that IoT devices are already part of our life also means that these devices constantly record, store and process a lot of data about us and our habits. For example, a fitness tracker not only detects blood pressure, skin tension, and pulse values, but also when a person moves from A to B. A surveillance camera, on the other hand, not only monitors flats when nobody is at home. It also films in the presence of the residents, records movements from room to room and films people who pay a visit. All of this information is collected, stored, processed and passed over the internet by IoT-devices. Data is being uploaded through the WiFi into cloud storage, in order to be displayed by an app.

The fact that IoT devices and connected services are increasingly gaining access to our private sphere should actually oblige manufacturers and suppliers to extreme care. On the one hand, this applies to the security of the devices: For example, a surveillance camera should be protected in such way that attackers cannot spy on foreign apartments via the Internet. On the other hand, the duty of care also applies to the data generated by the devices: Users should know which data is recorded and how this data is used by whom.

But unfortunately, things are different: as our tests regularly prove, many manufacturers and suppliers of IoT devices and services neglect their diligence due to their customers. Often, devices are not protected at all or have a too low security level, and so they gain easy access for attackers. In addition, often more data is collected than it would be needed by a particular application. And, moreover, these personal data is often not only poor protected, but the manufacturers profit at the expense of the users by selling it.

For more than three years, the AV-TEST Institute therefore has been testing and certifying security and privacy of IoT devices. With this blog, we would like to give you the opportunity to find out about the latest tests and research results on the security of IoT devices and services and to exchange ideas with our experts. We look forward to intensive communication and a lively exchange with you. The Internet of Things is a fact that will increasingly affect us all. We at AV-TEST help you to identify and avoid the dangers of using this technology. So you can enjoy the positive effects of the Internet of things without worries.

Best regards, your Maik Morgenstern