10 Valuable Tips to Secure IoT (Internet of Things) Devices You Need To Know
If you are not familiar with the term IoT, you need to start learning right now. IoT is an acronym for the “Internet of Things”. Regardless if you are a tech person, it’s important to secure IoT devices.
What Exactly Is IoT (Internet of Things)
First, we will give you the long-winded definition and then a much simpler one.
According to wikipedia.org, the Internet of things (IoT) is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware (such as sensors), these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.
Now for the simple definition – The Internet of Things, simply stated, means taking all the things in the world and connecting them to the internet. That’s it! Every device you own that connects to the internet translates to IoT!
Did you know that, in 2019, the number of connected IoT devices reached 27 billion, according to Statista? That is 27 billion different opportunities for cyber-criminals to exploit and attack those devices.
Another alarming statistics predicts that in 2019, IoT devices will become major targets of malware exploits. That’s worrisome, isn’t it?
That’s exactly why everyone should learn more about protecting their IoT networks. Luckily, there are many different ways and methods one can use to prevent these attacks from happening.
These valuable tips will save you a lot of trouble and keep you safe on the internet.
1 – Only Use Secure Internet Connections
Even though it might be tempting to use an open WiFi network, you should think twice before clicking “connect.” Connecting to public WiFi and networks that aren’t password-protected will leave a person’s device vulnerable to hacking attempts.
Users should either get a better data plan or at least install a VPN before connecting to an unprotected network.
For the past few years, using a VPN is my only choice to secure IoT devices in our home. There’s much talk about it on the internet and commercials on TV, and I’m sure you are familiar with the term. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network.
Used to add security and privacy, a VPN connection adds privacy to private and public networks.
They are the perfect way to protect your WiFi Hotspots and the Internet.
2 – Generate a Strong Password for All Your Accounts and Devices
Nowadays, it’s imperative to password-protect all smart devices. There are many hacking algorithms that can easily crack weak passwords.
What’s even worse is that almost anyone can find and use them. Everyone’s accounts are under constant attack. Luckily, most of those attempts are unsuccessful due to good cyber-security infrastructures and strong passwords.
However, it takes only one match to compromise one’s devices. For that reason, people should always create different passwords for every one of their accounts.
To achieve maximum protection, passwords should be alphanumeric, contain both uppercase and lowercase letters and symbols.
Personally, I use a program called LastPass. They have free and subscription plans available. One of the best ways to secure IoT devices is to always make sure you use encrypted passwords.
3 – Always Install System Security Updates
Installing important updates is crucial. As hackers are getting more creative with their techniques, companies must follow the trend and constantly adapt their security measures.
They do so by publishing updates that will help with fighting off the latest threats. Make sure to occasionally check the manufacturer website or choose to get notified once there’s a new update.
Most of the latest computers come with preinstalled software that automatically pushes important security updates directly to you. If you don’t have a computer with that feature, always install updates manually.
4 – Use a Premium VPN Service
Virtual Private Networks will keep users secure while browsing. They do that by encrypting all outgoing traffic, as well as by concealing one’s IP address. That makes things nearly impossible for cyber-criminals.
Although many companies offer free services, users should not install them. Free VPN can be worse than no VPN. Instead, users should pay for a premium subscription and enjoy all the benefits.
Paid VPN won’t abuse your connection and won’t have a hidden agenda, unlike many free VPNs. NordVPN is a good example of a premium service.
5 – Manage Your Permissions
An average household owns at least five smart devices with many applications and features. Most of those apps and features require certain permissions. Consumers often tap “allow” without even reading the text, which is a big security risk.
That’s why many applications and devices have access to microphones, location, cameras, messages, and other user data. Users should take another look at permissions they’ve given and ensure that no one is abusing their information.
Such sensitive data has enormous value on the black market.
The last Logitech webcam I purchased came with a protective privacy shield over the camera.
Using the shield on your webcam keeps prying eyes off your computer at all times even when it is off.
It’s always comforting to know tech companies are helping us to secure IoT devices.
6 – Use Mobile Security Programs
Thanks to the booming cyber-security industry, companies create plenty of useful apps that will keep one’s smartphone secure.
Always remember to set up the “Find My Phone” feature. This feature easily allows you to locate your phone regardless of who has it.
That way, they can remotely lock and delete sensitive data and track the phone’s geolocation.
Users should also use the biometric security features that most modern smartphones offer.
This security feature is a great way to lessen the chances of abusing your personal information.
7 – Install a Firewall
Firewalls deny any unauthorized traffic on one’s connected devices. Most of today’s systems have a built-in firewall which helps in preventing cyberattacks such as viruses, data breaches, and malware.
Many cyber-security companies offer additional firewall solutions that have even more features than regular, system-based firewalls.
8 – Tweak Default Software Settings
Almost all applications have adjustable privacy settings. Most users aren’t aware of this, though. Depending on one’s preference, they can allow or restrict certain permissions and connectivity features.
Apps sometimes require access to microphones, cameras, face recognition, location, or motion detection. It only takes a second to disable such potentially dangerous authorizations.
If they want to use them again, though, they can easily re-authorize them.
9 – Disconnect Your Devices
Did you know that, even when you close your device, certain apps still allow access to your microphone and cameras?
If not disconnected, this flaw can act as a welcome mat for cyber-criminals.
They can use the open connection to abuse your microphone and camera by spying or collecting data.
That’s why when you finished with it, you should disconnect from the internet.
Regardless of whether it’s a smart fridge or a smart TV, always make sure to perform this important security step.
10 – Use a Separate Network
Internet routers allow consumers to create multiple network entry points. By utilizing that feature, it will be much harder for hackers to access one’s system.
Instead of having all their information accessible on a single network, one should consider creating no less than one separate network for their IoT devices.
Make sure to have at least two of these security measures implemented on your devices. On the internet, anyone can become a victim and why it’s so important to secure IoT devices in your home.
There’s always a threat lurking around the corner, which is exactly why you shouldn’t take this lightly. If you’re not careful, you might suffer unwanted consequences.
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