IoT devices have undoubtedly increased the convenience of tech users’ lives worldwide. However, this convenience has come with an added risk – cybersecurity threats. The more connected devices you own, the greater the opportunity for criminals to infiltrate your network and gain access to other data-rich devices. This could potentially jeopardize your private and financial information, as well as your privacy.
Given our growing dependence on IoT and smart home technology, it is becoming more and more critical for users to improve their cybersecurity habits. To safeguard your personal data and privacy while still enjoying the benefits of your smart building and gadgets, consider implementing the following tips:
1) Secure your Wi-Fi network
Most Wi-Fi routers lack proper security or use an easily guessable default password such as “admin,” which provides an easy entry point for hackers to infiltrate and access devices connected to your router. To safeguard your network and the smart home gadgets attached to it, it’s essential to secure your Wi-Fi network with a strong password that hackers can’t guess easily.
2) Use strong and unique passwords on all your accounts and devices
Using a long, complex, and unique password or passphrase can effectively deter hackers from attempting to break into your accounts. Aim for a password that is at least 12 characters long and includes a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Ensure that the password is unique to each account to avoid reusing the same password for multiple accounts.
3) Do your homework
Before investing in any smart device, it’s crucial to do your research to ensure you’re purchasing from a reputable manufacturer. Consider if the company has a history of data breaches or if they have a track record of providing secure products. It’s also essential to take note of the information that your IoT device collects, how vendors use this information, and what information they release to other users or third parties.
Even more importantly, ensure that you understand the level of control you have over your privacy and information usage. If an IoT device allows you to opt-out of data collection or provides you with access to and the ability to delete collected data, it’s a positive indication of the device’s security and privacy features.
4) Enable multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication, in addition to a password/username combination, requires users to confirm a variety of factors to verify their identity. These factors usually consist of something the user possesses and a unique factor tied to their physical being, such as a retina or fingerprint scan. This approach can effectively prevent cybercriminals from using credential-stuffing techniques (where they utilize email and password combinations to hack into online profiles) to access your network or account, even if your login details were exposed during a data breach.
5) Update your devices regularly
To ensure the security of your smart home devices, it’s crucial to stay on top of software updates from your device manufacturer. While updates may not always be advertised, it’s important to visit the manufacturer’s website regularly to check for available updates. Additionally, don’t forget to update mobile apps that pair with your IoT device. To simplify this process, consider turning on automatic software updates in your device’s settings, so you can always have the latest security patches installed.
6) Monitor and secure your network
Your Wi-Fi router serves as the central hub connecting all devices in your home. This makes it critical to ensure it is secured properly. Start by changing the default password and name of your router, and ensure that your network name does not give away your address to prevent hackers from locating it. Next, verify that your router uses encryption, such as WPA2, to keep your communications secure. This step is crucial in ensuring that your home network is protected from unauthorized access.
Setting up a “guest network” for your IoT devices can provide an additional layer of security. This involves creating a second network on your router, which keeps your computers and smartphones separate from your IoT devices. If a device is compromised, a hacker still cannot access valuable information stored on your computers. To set up a guest network, check your router’s manual for instructions.