IoT: Security, Privacy & Updating Devices

by | Business, IoT

IoT: Security, Privacy & Updating

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a hot commodity. The devices range from major appliances to bike lojack. Your thermostat, door lock, tile on your car keys, Echo, and Alexa, all of them are Internet of Things devices. We are seeing more and more devices enter the workplace as well so we wanted to take a moment and address the security concerns with the devices and how to protect them.

IoT devices have become a hot target for criminals, one group successfully hacked a casino by using a fish tank temperature sensor as their point of entry. Once they had control of the device, they could easily leapfrog to the main network and insert Malware that successfully logged keystrokes for bank accounts and money transfers. While your home or business may not be moving the amounts of money a casino does, your personal or financial information is no less important to you.

Keep Your Network Safe

There are a number of ways to secure your network from intrusion and attacks. Let’s start with the basics like Wi-Fi, your mobile devices and anti-virus software.

Protect your Wifi

To keep your home network safe and secure, be sure you have your home router/wifi password protected with a strong password.

Mobile Device Security

When remotely checking your IoT devices, it is a best practice to not use public wifi to do so. Those connections are not secure and it opens the door to hackers. If you must use unsecure wifi, be sure to use a VPN on your device. The VPN creates a secure tunnel between you and your devices.

Anti-Virus

Many anti-virus products are capable of protecting PC’s, Macs, Iot devices, as well as mobile devices. We recommend Webroot due to what it is able to do, like protect your files, block viruses and malware, stop you from making costly mistakes, and erase your tracks. Get a free trial on us:

 

Keep Your IoT Devices Safe

Do your research

Whatever devices you buy, be sure they can be secured and you and password protect them with a password you choose. If you can’t change the password, everyone knows your password.

Secure your Devices

Two minutes or less. That’s all it takes once a device is connected to the internet before it can be hacked. Secure it with a password before you put it in your wifi. Check to see if it has a firmware or software update. Even if you just purchased a device, that doesn’t mean the manufacturer hasn’t put out a security update.

Use Secure Passwords

The passwords you use should be unique to each device.  Above all else, do not use the same passwords for every account and device. If you have trouble recalling your passwords, or simply want to have an app to keep them secure, consider LastPass.  It is true password management for your PC, Mac, IoT devices and mobile.  It will even create passwords for you.

Update the firmware

Most IoT devices have firmware that needs updated regularly. At the very least, check the device firmware when you change out your smoke detector batteries. That’s twice a year for you people who don’t do that either. Yeah, we’re on to you…

Avoid single point of failure

One vulnerable device is all it takes for your entire network to be compromised. To minimize the risk keep your passwords strong, for each device. Segment your network so your computer and printer is on one network and your IoT devices are on another. Many routers allow for this, and if yours doesn’t, let us know. We certainly have options that can give you a separate network for IoT traffic and even guest users to your home or business.

When All Else Fails…

I shot the toaster

You never know who’s listening

Turn off devices when not in use, or power cycle them periodically

Most malware is stored in memory and goes away with a reboot. Power cycling devices can remove malware if it’s already there. Most importantly, anything with a camera or mic in it, turn it off when not in use. I’d rather be safe than sorry and have a device used to invade my privacy, or yours.

Consider disconnecting or replacing your IoT device

If the device lacks the ability to change the admin password, firmware is more than a year old or you can’t update it, you may want to upgrade or replace the device. Having a vulnerable device on your home network isn’t worth it.

Now that you know how to secure your IoT devices, you can integrate them safely into your home or business.

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