The Internet of Things (IoT) and Our Campus: Embracing Innovation Safely


October, as many of you know, is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In the vast and rapidly evolving landscape of cybersecurity, certain topics emerge that resonate deeply with our campus life. One such area, which is both exciting and potentially perilous, is the Internet of Things (IoT).

Unpacking IoT: What is it?

The Internet of Things refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. From smart refrigerators and thermostats in our homes to the advanced HVAC systems and security cameras on our campus, IoT is revolutionizing our daily experiences.

IoT on Our Campus

The benefits of IoT in an educational setting are profound:

  • Smart Classrooms: Automated systems that adjust lighting and temperature based on occupancy or time of day, enhancing the learning environment.
  • Enhanced Security: Connected cameras and access control systems can increase safety while providing real-time data.
  • Research and Data Collection: Labs equipped with IoT devices can gather and analyze data more efficiently, paving the way for groundbreaking studies.

However, with these advantages come certain risks.

The Risks and Challenges

  • Privacy Concerns: As devices collect data, there’s always the question of who has access to this information and how it’s used.
  • Increased Attack Surface: More devices connected to the internet mean more potential entry points for cyber threats.
  • Interoperability: With a myriad of manufacturers and protocols, ensuring that all devices “speak the same language” can be challenging.

Safeguarding Our Connected Campus

While IoT brings a new set of challenges, by adhering to best practices, we can enjoy its benefits safely:

  1. Change Default Credentials: Many IoT devices come with default usernames and passwords. Always change these immediately upon setup.
  2. Regularly Update Firmware: Manufacturers often release updates to patch vulnerabilities. Ensure your devices are always up-to-date.
  3. Network Segmentation: Keep IoT devices on a separate network from critical university systems to prevent potential cross-contamination.
  4. Educate and Engage: Stay informed about the latest in IoT security and engage with workshops and training offered by the university.

The Future is Connected

As we continue to integrate IoT into our campus life, it’s vital to approach this digital frontier with both enthusiasm and caution. Much like how we balance work and leisure, immersing ourselves in technological advancements requires a harmonious blend of excitement and vigilance.

In this Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s embrace the future of a connected Fordham University, armed with knowledge and a collective commitment to safety. Remember, in the digital age, our strength lies in unity and awareness. Together, we can foster an environment where innovation thrives securely.


About Author

Associate Vice President for IT, CISO, Fordham University

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