Help wanted: Diligent vigilance

Remember when we could follow Ron Popeil's advice and simply "Set it, and forget it"?

Granted, the Showtime Rotisserie was never a member of the Internet of Things club but many of us long for the good old days when we knew no one could mess with the food in our refrigerator so long as the door was shut.

These days, it's possible for someone to hack into our cars' remote starting system while it is buried under an inch of snow and parked at the airport or able to turn our homes' security systems into a voyeur's dream come true. Sigh.

Yes, it's a shame that along with the benefits and beauty of an interconnected (and more often wireless) existence come a dark side: the criminal element. And it's even more of a shame that these labor-saving devices require either an entire administrative-and-oversight overlay network to control and monitor the gadgets that are controlling and monitoring our lives or we have to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy watching over them ourselves. Is this a price of progress?

Oh Consumers Report, where art thou?

I recognize that the first automobiles lacked airbags and locks, and I understand that the Internet of Things is still in its embryonic stages but it's already time that consumers (and businesses alike) demand that a multitude of layered safeguards be designed into our online products (at no additional cost, thank you very much) so that Johnny CyberCrook has to work (at least) a few hours before he can change our homes' Internet-enabled thermostat system.

If the very systems we desire and embrace can be compromised (without our permission) and used against us (like wireless pacemakers), are we willing to invest in the constant and earnest watchfulness necessary to secure our security and ensure that our private lives stay private? I hope so since our society's penchant for new shiny objects is making the fraudsters and criminals salivate. And, as the commercial always told us: "But wait!  There's more!"

Michael Carr is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the University of Kentucky, a certified information systems security professional (CISSP), a certified information privacy professional (CIPP), and a licensed attorney in Ohio and Kentucky.  Mike is also a KCBS Master Certified BBQ Judge.

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