Cool Tech is Great, but Only if You Protect Yourself

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Here at Cool Business Ideas we’re all about finding the best new technology. Devices, gadgets and gizmos that make your life easier, more entertaining or more profitable are not only good for you, but your business, your customers and those around you.

Indeed, whether it’s the latest financial app, another piece to your smart home collection or a new virtual reality game, the best ideas can help enhance our lives in a variety of ways. However, for the benefits of new technology, there’s also a downside. Like it or not, technology is vulnerable regardless of how good it is or who is using it.

As we saw during the recent US presidential election race, not even Hillary Clinton could escape the advances of hackers. In fact, Clinton’s leaked government emails were such as problem that new president elect Donald Trump recently pledged to improve the government’s computer system.

Trump’s Technology Proposal

Outlining a four-part cyber security strategy, Trump wants everything from a full audit of the system, to more experts and even the development of cyber weapons. Essentially Trump wants to find a way to stop hackers and cybercriminals. Of course, as we all know, this is almost an impossible task. As technology evolves, so do the potential threats, but it’s often not the technology we need to worry about.

Just as we’re hot on showing you the latest tech trends, we also want you to know how to stay safe when using them. Personal vigilance is often responsible for a tech-related incident. Either through a lack of knowledge or a lack of precaution, users can often find themselves exposed. Indeed, an example of this came courtesy of the online poker world.

Personal Flaws Trump Security Flaws

The online poker world is a place where cool technology and ideas flourish, but in recent weeks the community had some issues with TeamViewer. Although not designed specifically for poker players, TeamViewer’s screen sharing capabilities have become a neat training tool for players. By showing their own games and commentating over them, coaches have been able to educate novices on the best times to bet and bluff.

However, according to a recent post by Poker.com.au, a suspected TeamViewer hack caused some players to fear their accounts were vulnerable. Because TeamViewer allows remote access as well as screen sharing, some players were concerned that frequent server outages were the result of hackers trying to compromise their systems and steal their bankrolls.

In response to the concerns, TeamViewer confirmed that no hacks had taken place and that stressed that “careless use” was “the cause” of some individual issues. The TeamViewer incident essentially highlighted how personal vigilance is crucial when using technology. Simple mistakes such as storing your usernames and passwords in a vulnerable browser, not installing the latest operating system updates and downloading content from suspicious websites are all personal mistakes that can lead to trouble.

Your Light Bulb Moment: Safety is Your Responsibility

In fact, if we look beyond established technology like remote access apps and towards more recent innovations such as smart light bulbs, you’ll see that individual users have a responsibility to protect themselves. According to researchers at Weizmann Institute of Science, a radio protocol developed in the nineties called ZigBee could give hackers access to a home smart system.

A weakness in the wireless feature of the Philips Hue bulbs allowed hackers to take control of the lights via the ZigBee protocol. The implication of this hack is that criminals could soon take control of the Internet of Things and shut down users’ security sensors, power and heating. Although this attack has taken security experts by surprise, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that this technology is now a target.

Indeed, this comes back to the issue of personal vigilance. Although Philips is working to patch the vulnerability, users should now take this into account when they’re looking at smart light bulbs. Not only that, but you should also consider how many things you have connected to the same network and, moreover, consider how safe your home network is.

Technology is always going to have weaknesses, but the trick is to limit your own risk. If you can do that, then the evolution of cool ideas shouldn’t fill you with fear.


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