Cybersecurity and the Internet of things

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IoT cyber security – Tips to secure IoT devices

Internet of Things (IoT) devices make our lives more efficient and convenient.As more and more Internet-connected devices find their way into our homes and businesses, it’s important to remember that they represent a security risk.

In general, Internet of Things devices have little inbuilt security, making them top targets for hackers. As most IoT devices are interconnected, it puts your whole suite of devices at risk if even one gets hacked. So make sure your IoT devices are secure before you start using them.

Gartner reports says that there are 14.2 billion connected things in use in 2019.

Here are five ways to secure IoT devices:

  1. Change the default settings of router
  2. Use unique, strong passwords for Wi-Fi networks and device accounts
  3. Update your device routinely
  4. Enable two-factor authentication
  5. Disable UPnP features

Change router default settings for IoT devices security

Don’t stick with the name the manufacturer gave to the router; which might identify the make or model. Give it any different name that is not associated with you. Never do online shopping while on a public Wi-Fi, as someone could easily steal your data. If you don’t take measures to secure your Wi-Fi and home network, your home will not be secure as your devices are connected with it.Change  default privacy and security settings, as some default settings could benefit the manufacturer more than the IoT devices benefit you.


Use strong, unique passwords for Wi-Fi networks and IoT device accounts

Using strong & secure passwords make it harder for hackers to penetrate your accounts.If  the password is more strong  and complex, you will be better protected from the inside-out.

Here are five tips to create passwords.

  1. Always use a combination of numbers, symbols, lowercase and uppercase letters.
  2. Never use the name of your pet, location, birthday, or anything that could be related to your personal information.
  3. Never use the same password for all accounts.
  4. Make your password as long as possible.
  5. Don’t keep an electronic note of all your passwords .

Use a verified password manager,if you need to keep track of your various passwords. For bank accounts that are especially vulnerable to cybercrime, make your password even more complicated. 


Keep your software up to date.

When the smartphone manufacturer sends a software update, don’t put off installing it,because it might be a patch for a security flaw. Mobile security is important, since you probably connect to your smart home through mobile devices.

Internet of Things makers also may send updates or you might have to visit their websites to check for the new updates. Download updates and apply them to IoT devices to stay safe.Since IoT devices weren’t created with inbuilt security, it’s crucial to update them regularly. Updating software ensures that devices are up to date on the latest antivirus and anti-malware countermeasures. System update also helps to  clean up any security flaws that enter through the cracks in the older version of your device. Hackers are continually improving their plans, so the more regularly you update, the better protected will be your IoT devices.


Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication(2FA) allows you to keep a tighter pulse on who accesses your accounts, and it enables you to be the gatekeeper of who enters in and out of your accounts. 

If someone successfully hacks into your email account, two-way authentication will immediately notify you, and requires your permission for further access. If it’s yourself or someone you know personally, you can approve the request. In case if you’re unaware of who might be trying to access your email, you can stop that move. 

So, activate two-factor authentication on almost any IoT device, which is relatively simple to do. 


Disable UPnP Features

Most IoT devices have UPnP(Universal Plugin and Play) features, which allow multiple devices to connect. However, your Alexa can pair with your smart devices to turn on and off via voice command. As convenient as this is, it also poses various security risks. 

If a hacker discovers one device, they’ll be able to more easily find other devices connected with. And, since all the devices are connected, it makes it easy for a hacker to dismantle the whole system. Fortunately, most devices allow you to disable UPnP by accessing their settings.


Conclusion: The Internet of Things (IoT) devices are growing rapidly, and in the rush for convenience, our privacy and safety is often not a primary concern.Make sure the Internet of Things isn’t a path for hackers to get into your home or workplace.

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