By definition, the #internet of things is "the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items embedded with electronics and network connectivity which enables these objects to collect and exchange data." In layman's terms, the internet of things is a network of connected devices (everything from your fridge and toaster, over your #Alarm System and baby monitor to your smartphone) that the user can remotely control.

Potential risks of the internet of things

This is how smart homes function and this is, most probably, what our future will look like. While this sounds promising and like an incredibly innovative and convenient concept, there are some risks involved.

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At the moment, IoT systems are not developed or safe enough, yet they are being used.

Since the IoT is, essentially, a network of inter-connected devices, all that it takes for an intruder is to hack into one of them and that will enable them to get into the entire system. Security Week, an online magazine specializing in cyber security, reported on the 11-year old boy who managed to hack into a Bluetooth-connected teddy bear.

"Most internet-connected things have a blue-tooth functionality. I showed how I could connect to it and send commands to it, by playing the light and recording audio," the boy said, after demonstrating how easily IoT devices can be "weaponized".

Obviously, we are talking about an extremely gifted young boy, but imagine what an experienced, more competent hacker or cyber criminal could do? They could, potentially, control every home appliance, the alarm system and the heating system in your home, your smartphone, your computer, surveillance cameras -- anything that's part of the IoT system of your home.

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Predictions

According to Gather Inc, a technology research company, 13.5 billion “things” will be connected to the internet by 2020. And unless we find a way to protect ourselves better, our privacy and our safety will be at great risk.

Nick Shaw, general manager for antivirus software company Norton said to TechRadar: “From laptops and mobile phones to fitness trackers and baby monitors, any internet-connected device is a potential target.”

Our privacy is already being invaded by corporations and governments and, in the future, we might have cyber criminals doing the same. The IoT is still in its infancy and maybe we're better off without it until we find a way to properly protect ourselves.