Internet of Things for Mental Health

Cup, IoT

Published: 15 January 2023

Reading time: 3 minutes

This Monday, also named Blue Monday is considered depressing after overindulging at Christmas time and feeling guilty about not sticking to new year resolutions. 

We should never forget that an individual’s mental wellbeing is one of the most important aspects to consider.

As the proportion of people living with mental health conditions continues to grow, this will drive innovation in the mental health space and will lead to the increased uptake of novel digitally assisted care and diagnosis methods. Soon there will be a diverse selection of personalised, digital tools available in the mental health space for consumers to choose from. Already we have  Internet of Things (IoT) tools, such as mobile health mHealth (mHealth is an abbreviation for mobile health, a term used for the practice of medicine and public health supported by mobile devices) which capture patient data.
Mobile apps are particularly suited to treating mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, where stigma and a lack of self-belief act as barriers to treatment and engagement.

For that reason it is crucial to build a cybersecurity strategy and protection mechanism that safeguards against the possibility of cyberattacks which specifically target physical IoT devices that are connected to the network.

How to Keep IoT Safe
There are many ways you can secure your IoT network devices and minimize the risks. Some are more complex than others as they provide different levels of security. The least you can do to ensure your IoT network and devices remain secure is setting strong passwords and usernames different from the default mode. When it comes to passwords, change them regularly every 30 to 90 days. If you have a complex network with numerous devices, utilize a password manager to avoid using similar or straightforward passwords—which puts you at a greater risk.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is your backup if your password fails, either because it was in a data leak or an attacker figured it out through brute force. Like other security measures, the complexity and number of authentication steps you add should correlate to your threat model and the level of security you’re after.

Keep Software Up-to-Date
Software updates often fix old bugs and patch security vulnerabilities. Failing to keep IoT devices’ software up to date at all times leaves your network susceptible to attacks, especially if they’re connected to the internet often.

Encrypt Your Connection
One of the simplest ways to do it is using a VPN. A VPN changes a device’s IP address and encrypts all the data leaving it, creating an additional layer of security. Most VPNs also offer a “kill-switch” feature, where it kills your internet connection if the VPN crashes. That ensures your IoT device never makes contact with the open internet unprotected.

Set a Monitoring System
A monitoring system is a system that tracks your devices’ health and sends out alerts if anything is out of the ordinary. That could be an unusual data flow, suspected unauthorized access, or connection to the internet and other devices in the network.

And don't forget to take care about yourself, Blue Monday will also pass.

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