Smart devices that can connect to other devices are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and businesses alike. Even city governments are looking to use the new technologies to improve the city’s energy efficiency, traffic conditions, and water quality, amongst other uses.

These rapidly advancing smart devices are creating an interconnected world with the potential to make people’s lives more enjoyable, productive, secure, and efficient. However, there are many of them without real security protections, and becoming part of vast networks of tiny computers which are vulnerable to hacking, called “botnets”.

Botnets have the capabilities to send vast amount of spam mail and disrupt websites. The growth of smart devices has allowed botnets to become even more disruptive as they can invade more devices apart from computers like webcams, televisions, and sensors. Disruption of these networks can become both a private and public problem as the same network that streams television shows also manages traffic light in congested areas. If the network is disrupted, there would be huge repercussions on society.

Read the full article on The Conversation: The quiet threat inside ‘internet of things’ devices


It is projected that smart devices will become more embedded in our lives in the coming years. There will come a point where they become an integral part of our daily lives, both at work and at home. It is thus essential that we are prepared to handle the dark side of such technologies, as individuals and as a society.

There is little doubt that their existence makes for a better quality of life, yet a breakdown or hijack of these devices can lead to serious problems to be addressed. The increasingly prevalent use of these connected devices also increases the vulnerability of the entire network. Cybersecurity systems and public awareness of these dangers are important to mitigate the risks. Artificial Intelligence is currently being developed and built to automatically detect threats and provide early warnings, but ultimate responsibility must be shared by human users desiring to use technology wisely.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. What factors contribute to the increase in vulnerability of smart devices?
  2. How do you see your life changing in a few years’ time due to smart devices?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘emanating’: originating from
  2. ‘swath’ : a broad area of something

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