The Internet of Things opens limitless possibilities for virtually every type of user. The managers of smart offices can kick back and relax, knowing that their biggest assets are protected by smart cameras, while the owners of smart homes can enjoy the convenience of smart TVs and thermostats.
But however smart and convenient, the IoT technology doesnâ€™t come without risk.
Multiple reports of data breaches have revealed that networks of interconnected devices can only be as strong as their weakest link, which is usually not enough. The early adopters are struggling to keep their devices protected from cybercriminals, to whom the Internet of Things is quite an easy target.
Here’s what makes your IoT network vulnerable and how to protect it.
The More Devices, the Bigger the Problem
Every unprotected device is an easy target for cybercriminals.
Now imagine having two or three of them connected to the same network. Unfortunately for the IoT users, cybersecurity is not the highest priority to the manufacturers of connected devices. As a result, a lot of these devices come with no built-in security features, thus compromising entire IoT networks.
One gadget can compromise the security of ten or more devices.
This is how hackers were able to hack into one WiFi baby monitor and threat parents they would kidnap their child. Or how criminals could physically break into a house after accessing smart thermostat data and determining nobodyâ€™s home. Unprotected IoT is not a small threat.
And the more devices you have, the bigger the problem.
Everything Starts with your WiFi Router
In a great number of reported cases, the main vulnerability in an IoT system is a WiFi router. As a central device that keeps all other devices connected to your smart network, a router is the most obvious and most commonly used point of entry. A lot of WiFi routers are not secure enough.
Security-wise, a WiFi router is the most overlooked IoT device.
For example, most IoT users donâ€™t know that they are supposed to change their WiFi routerâ€™s name and set up encryption. This is necessary because hackers can use the routerâ€™s default name to find the easiest way in based on its brand and model. And without encryption, no IoT network is secure.
(Guide) How to Keep Your IoT Network Secure?
In addition to choosing only the best, most reliable tech brands and manufacturers for your smart IoT system, you can employ a couple of other tricks to keep your network vulnerability-free. Start with your WiFi router, change its name, set up WPA2 encryption, and create a strong password.
Keep all your Devices Password-Protected
You need a complex, random password for every device in your network. A good password manager app can help you generate different unique passwords and keep them under the key. Whenever you can, use two-factor authentication, especially for your smartphone and important online accounts.
Check the Security Settings for your Tech
Just the same as you should change default usernames and passwords for your devices, you should also check their security settings and adjust them in a way that benefits you, not the manufacturer. This is particularly important for devices that collect your data and exchange it with third-party apps.
Be Careful while Browsing the Internet
Browse the internet very carefully, whether youâ€™re using a PC or your smartphone. Consider making your IP address and online data fingerprint unreadable by using a virtual private network for your PC and your smartphone. That way, youâ€™ll protect your IoT network from both spying and data mining.
Disconnect the Devices youâ€™re not Using
The devices youâ€™ve stopped using pose a particular risk to your security system. Not only do they instill a false sense of security, but they also stay dormant without updating to the latest software version. This means that unused IoT tech is full of vulnerabilities youâ€™ve probably forgotten all about.
Update your Software Systems Regularly
Never forget to keep your IoT devices up to date. Some devices have automatic update reminders, and others donâ€™t. But even if you have to spend some time looking for updates and running them, this time is never wasted. Outdated systems are full of security flaws and gaps that are easy to exploit.
A device, Data, & Network Security
To ensure strong security of your IoT system, you should be wise to implement the best practices for keeping your devices, data, and network protected on all fronts. Using a combination of these three security protocols, youâ€™ll be able to regain full control and stay on top of your smart IoT network.
When used and appropriately secured, IoT can be very safe and convenient.
Donâ€™t miss out on all the benefits that this cutting-edge technology has to offer. In homes and small office environments, these five security techniques are enough to get you started, and they require minimum effort and time. Use them together with your common sense to ensure maximum security.