When you have a busy life, and are constantly on the go, anything that can save you time is a blessing. You might not have heard of it, but the Internet of Things (IoT) is one way you can leverage technology to simplify your life. The Internet of Things is basically a collection of internet connected devices that “talk” to one another – allowing you to manage all aspects of your life directly from your smartphone.
Internet connected devices range from fridges, smart cars, speakers, contact lenses, televisions, thermostats, toys, lights, ingestible sensors, security cameras, and more. These appliances and devices are all known as the Internet of Things because they can be connected to the internet, and interface with one another. Although IoT devices can simplify certain tasks, it can also be one of the biggest nightmares you face, if a cyber-criminal were to hack one of your devices.
While IoT devices have many benefits, and endless applications, they are also a huge security and privacy threat. If one device is compromised, it won’t be long before a hacker gains access to all your confidential data. That is why it is so important to protect and secure your devices. Here are 7 tips you can use to secure your IoT devices, and to minimize your risks of a security breach.
- Start with your router
- Your router is the entry point for a hacker. Like the front door of your house, you must make sure your router has locks and security measures enabled. Give your router a new name. Make the name unusual and ensure that it does not give any clues about yourself (example. your street address, last name, childhood pet, etc.).
- Secure your Wi-Fi network
- Begin by using a strong encryption method (example. WPA2) and set up a secondary network. The primary network will be private just for you and your IoT devices, while the secondary/guest network can be for your visitors. For both the primary and secondary network make sure to use strong passwords that are made up of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Change default settings on your IoT devices
- Cybercriminals may have already figured out how to hack devices that are using default settings. Change the default usernames and passwords, as this can prevent a hacker from accessing your IoT device and the data on it. Additionally, you should change the settings on the IoT devices to disable any features you do not need.
- Use two- factor authentication
- Enable two factor authentications on any of your IoT device, if possible—this even includes your internet connected toaster. Two factor authentication permits for an additional level of security. To gain access to your internet connected device not only do you have to provide its password, but with two factor authentication you are required to provide a one-time code that is sent to you via your email, or to your smartphone.
- Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi network
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks when possible. This is because public networks are less protected and are more easily hacked. If your smart watch is connected to a public network at a local coffee shop, and a hacker was able to intercept the network, your data can be breached, and all your other IoT devices can be compromised.
- Limit Universal Plug in and Play (UPnP) features
- IoT devices have the Universal Plug in and Play (UPnP) feature which enables devices to find and configure each other when on the same network. It is best to disable this feature. Once the devices on the network are configured with one another, they are continuously sending and receiving data to one another.
- Audit and update your IoT devices
- Audit your internet connected devices to see which ones need to be replaced. If you have an older model of a printer and there are little to no security measures on it, consider replacing it with one that has a stronger security system. This may seem costly, but in the long run it will save you thousands. Additionally, if the device is new, make sure that the software is up to date, because these updates can include patches for security vulnerabilities.
The pace of IoT is growing rapidly. These devices are continuously evolving, and with more and more ordinary appliances becoming IoT devices, your risks are increasing daily. By implementing the 7 tips above, you can close the security gaps, and prevent a data breach.
Good luck! And if you ever need assistance securing IoT devices, or you are just curious about cybersecurity, please give us a call at 416-966-3306 and we will be happy to help.