The Biggest Risk to Investing in the Internet of Things

Investing in the Internet of Things may be more problematic than investors would like to believe, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Why? Your fancy new fridge is just as vulnerable as the average PC. According to security firm Proofpoint, cyber crooks have already hacked more than 100,000 smart appliances in the U.S. for sending out some 750,000 spam emails.

If the problem gets worse, it's because we're going to see more of these sorts of appliances. Look at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) , which recently spent $3.2 billion to acquire Nest. The company's smart appliances are governed via apps, and software can always be hacked. Research firm Gartner expects upwards of 30 billion devices plugged into the Internet of Things by 2020.

In Google's case, we can fairly surmise that the intent is to collect data about power usage, peak hours, living conditions, and other such trivia that might reveal a disruptive opportunity. Not much use to a hacker, right? Perhaps. But what if your thermostat is smart enough to contain information about your local service provider, who also has your account name and address? Clever thieves don't need much more to begin stealing your identity.

Of course, every time a paradigm shifts, new risks are revealed. Will you plug your home's smart appliances into the Internet of Things? Are you investing in the promise of the technology?  Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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