In recent years, intelligent internet-connected home devices have made our lives simpler in more ways than one. Whether it’s allowing you to quickly put on your favorite songs via Amazon’s Alexa, keeping an eye on your property remotely using a security camera system, or controlling your home’s heating from wherever you are via the Hive platform, there are so many reasons why IoT (Internet of Things) devices are being progressively utilized throughout the world.
However, there’s a dark side to intelligent technology, and it’s how easy it can be for cybercriminals to use it to their advantage to get their hands on your personal information. This is certainly very worrying for consumers, especially as an ever-increasing number of IoT devices are targeted by criminals as the years go by.
The VPNFilter malware attack back in 2018 is a clear marker of the dangers caused by cybercrime. This particular instance saw in excess of 1 million routers infected across 50 countries around the world. VPNFilter then had the potential to steal your passwords, block network traffic, and infect other devices connected to your router.
Given the severity of cyberattacks such as VPNFilter, it’s most definitely worth getting clued up on how to secure your personal information while using smart technology in the home. If you do exactly that, you’ll be in a far better position to fend off any unwanted attempts to gain access to your private data. Want to know how to ensure your IoT device’s security? If so, continue reading and you’ll find out the steps you can take to achieve just that.
Choose secure passwords and use two-factor authentication
As routers and most IoT devices require a password in order to gain access to them, it’s well worth changing the password from the default one you are provided with. This is because stock passwords can be incredibly easy to guess for hackers. So, be sure to make their task far more difficult by choosing a unique password for each device that you own. This gives you the best chance of keeping any would-be thieves at bay.
Two-factor authentication is a way of going a step further, as this means that you will not only need to enter your password, you’ll also have to confirm any sign in either using another device such as a smartphone or perhaps click on a link in an email that you receive. This will make it far tougher for a hacker to gain access to your accounts. Because, as the name suggests, you need to follow two separate processes in order to log in.
Ensure that your software and firmware is kept updated
Manufacturers of IoT devices often supply their products with regular firmware & software updates in order to iron out any bugs or security flaws the devices may have. In the event of a widespread security breach, it’s likely that a new firmware or software version will become available.
Therefore, it’s always worth keeping an eye out for the latest updates and applying them as soon as possible. The same goes for updates to applications on your smartphone and PC too, as these can also be compromised by online thieves.
Take care of using public WiFi networks
It’s a well-known fact that using a public WiFi network can leave you at risk of having your personal information intercepted. This is because these particular networks often don’t require a password to access them, meaning anyone in range can connect their device and easily gain access to your personal information.
You don’t need to avoid using public WiFI networks altogether. After all, they can be very convenient if you’ve run out of data and would like to get some work done or check emails while out and about. The perfect way to protect yourself is by making use of a VPN. Choosing a highly-rated one such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN ensures that your information will be kept safe at all times. This is because each of the aforementioned services utilises flawless security and privacy practices which will allow you to browse away on public networks with complete peace of mind.
Be cautious with cloud services
The cloud is often heavily utilized by IoT devices as it’s often an essential requirement for them to function correctly. There’s no denying that the cloud is incredibly useful when it comes to storing and sharing information. But, if this information gets into the wrong hands, it could spell a disaster.
Turn off UPnP
Otherwise known as Universal Plug and Play, UPnP is a useful feature that makes accessing devices like printers, routers, and cameras plain and simple. However, this feature can be easily taken advantage of by cybercriminals, which is why you should think about disabling this feature. Sure, it may inconvenience you slightly, but it’s certainly worth it if it means enhancing your online security.
By now, you should be aware of why it is crucial to ensure the security of your IoT device(s). After all, not doing so can result in your private data ending up on the wrong hands – whether it’s through hacking your router, installing malware on your smartphone, or even a cybercriminal guessing the password to one of your devices.
By following the steps we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring optimal security of your IoT devices – keeping the cybercriminals away from your personal information in the process. So, if you haven’t done so already, it’s about time that you give your IoT devices a security overhaul!
IoT White Paper
Simplify IoT solution development with Intel and Microsoft
- Intelligent Edge White Paper Series -