What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is the network of Internet-connected devices that are able not only to communicate with humans, but also among each other. These devices collect, transmit and process data.

Today’s connected devices are useful in all sorts of ways. Security cameras allow us to monitor our homes remotely; we can use personal voice assistants to adjust the lighting and temperature in our homes; smart watches make it possible to monitor data related to our health.



The Internet of Things is expanding




Worldwide, 127 connected devices are plugged
into the Internetevery second


There will be about 3.4 connected devices
per person by 2020


Roughly 1 out of every 4 Canadians uses a connected device to measure health-related data


Data collection

Connected devices are equipped with sensors that collect data produced
by you and your environment. You may find the amount of information they collect surprising!

Option Consommateurs

The circulation of personal data

The data that your devices collect objects is likely
to be disseminated on the Internet. It will be hosted
on the Cloud. It will be used by companies to provide
you with services. It may also be used for other purposes.
In some cases, it will be communicated to third parties.

Learn more about the circulation of personal data


Poor security

Cybersecurity experts and Canadian government authorities
are worried about the security of connected devices, and rightly so.
There have been many instances in recent years when hackers have
exploited flaws in the Internet of Things. The lack of proper security
measures could expose you to information theft or to losing control
over your connected device.


The Guardian


An army of zombies

In the fall of 2016, a number of popular sites including Twitter,
Amazon and Airbnb were made inaccessible for a few hours as
the result of a cyberattack. What caused it? Millions of poorly
protected connected devices were transformed into a vast network
of zombie machines (a “botnet” network) by a malware known as Mirai.
Similar attacks could happen again as hackers continue to develop new
malware able to exploit loopholes in the Internet of Things.


MIT Technology Review

Snooping cameras

Tens of thousands of private surveillance cameras transmit
images to the Internet without the owner’s knowledge. In fact,
there are websites on which you can view, in real time, images
shot in stores or private homes. On these sites, you can even
pinpoint the geographic location of the security cameras. This is
made possible by the fact that the cameras’ owners have used the
default username and password that were provided with their smart
devices, thus making them particularly easy to hack.




Monitors that talk to children

In 2016, parents heard a voice coming from their baby’s room.
Hackers had taken control of a baby monitor, allowing them to talk
to the child and change the angle of the camera. Since 2015, a study
by the firm Rapid7 has resulted in corrections to several digital
vulnerabilities in baby monitors sold by major retailers. The hackers
were able to obtain data that gave them access to user-created accounts
and allowed them to view recorded videos.


Huffington Post


Best security practices

When it comes time to purchase or use a connected device,
it is important to take certain precautions. Secure your devices
and exercise caution when using them. as Secure your home network.


Secure your home network

Make sure your router and modem are up-to-date. The procedures
for performing the updates can usually be found on the company’s website.

Make sure your home network uses the WPA2 security protocol.
This is the protocol selected when configuring most modern routers.
If your router does not permit the use of WPA2, exchange it for a new one.

Change the default name given to your home Internet
(also known as “Service Set Identifier” or “SSID”). Failure to do
so may mean that your network is not secure. Avoid using a name
that could be used to identify you or the place where you live.

Learn about your connected devices

Not all companies collect the same information or implement
the same security measures. Before purchasing a connected device,
learn about the company’s practices and mechanisms for protecting
your personal information. You need to feel reassured by the information
you receive.

Learn more about what questions to ask


Secure your connected devices

You must secure access to your connected device and
configure its privacy settings during the initial setup procedure.
Unless you personally change these settings or they are updated
by the company itself, they will remain the same for the life of use
of the connected device.

Find out more about how to secure your connected devices

Precautions for use

Once the connected device is set up, it is easy to forget that it is collecting and transmitting data, often continuously.


Check regularly that your connected
devices and their apps are up to date.
You can usually do this by visiting the
company’s website.


If you do not use a connected device
regularly, turn off its microphone and camera.


Before leaving your home for
a long time, unplug your connected devices.


Make sure that your contact information
is up-to-date in the app for your connected device.
The privacy policy can be sent to you by email.
You may receive notifications of security updates.


Check if the retailer still offers
support for your connected device.
If updates are no longer provided,
avoid using the device.


Before, recycling, selling, or disposing
of your connected device, make sure that
you have removed all your personal
information (this can be found both in the
device itself and in the app), then reset the
device’s parameters. You should also delete
the account related to the connected device.


Resources to help you out

To learn more about your privacy rights :


To protect your personal information :


To file a privacy complaint :


To report a cyber incident :


To learn more on the privacy issues and the Internet of things :


Mireille Bergeron and Marilyne Lord
Icon design by Freepik, Eucalyp, mynamepong, Smashicons, Those Icons and Zlatko Najdenovski on


This project was supported by a grant from CIRA’s Community Investment Program