Before discussing ways for securing IoT devices at home, let us look at “What is IoT”. The Internet of Things (IoT) equates to the billions of physical devices worldwide connected to the internet.
There is gratitude to the arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the universality of wireless networks. Hence, it’s likely to change anything, from something as minute as a pill to something as large as an airplane, into a portion of the IoT.
Therefore, connecting all these various objects and attaching sensors adds a level of digital intelligence to devices, permitting them to communicate real-time data without requiring a human being.
Hence, we can say, the Internet of Things is making the world around us more innovative and responsive, merging the digital and physical natures.
The Internet of Things (IoT) puts on much to one’s home comforts. By using intelligent devices connected to the internet, one can make coffee and heat the dinner using the oven whenever needed.
Therefore, one can also control the temperature and air quality, lock the doors, and keep an eye on the house whenever away, all from the smartphone.
Nevertheless, IoT devices, fridges, coffee machines, heating systems, and cars can store personal data. Therefore, every connected IoT device is a data collector.
Hence, unless one wants somebody to know all about one’s life, there is a need to secure each device. Therefore, one will need to confirm the network and ensure that there are no weak links by verifying that each device is secure.
Therefore, over 7 billion IoT devices are present globally, which offer a fascinating target for cybercriminals. Hence, if one’s home is wired, it is necessary to protect it, and this article will explain how.
Ways for securing IoT devices at home
- Example of an Internet of Things device
- Why smart home devices are vulnerable
- Instances of cybercriminals targeting routers and IoT devices
- 12 tips for securing IoT devices at home
- Give a name to the router
- Use a robust encryption method for Wi-Fi
- Set up a guest network
- Switch default usernames and passwords
- Use robust, unique passwords for Wi-Fi networks and device accounts
- Check the setting of the devices
- Disable features that are not needed
- Keep the software up to date
- Audit the IoT devices on the home network
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
- Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
- Apply a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
Example of an Internet of Things device
Any physical object is an IoT device if connected to the internet to control or communicate information.
Thus, an IoT device, a lightbulb operated using a smartphone app, a motion sensor, a connected streetlight, or a smart thermostat in the office is an Internet of Things example. Hence, an IoT device could be as fluffy as a child’s toy or as serious as a driverless truck.
On a yet bigger scale, smart cities projects serve entire regions with sensors to understand and control the environment.
Why smart home devices are vulnerable
Home routers and security cameras are the first two IoT targets for hackers because, like other connected devices, they have limited or no built-in security. Hence, that makes them vulnerable to malware.
Also, there’s another reason for it. Security typically isn’t a top preference for IoT device makers. So, their poor security practices could lead to:
- No system hardening, which provides a computer system various means of protection and makes it more secure.
- No mechanism for updating software, which can produce vulnerabilities.
- Default or hardcoded passwords, which hackers can misuse.
Instances of cybercriminals targeting routers and IoT devices
Cybercriminals sometimes enter the home network through the router.
- It happened in 2018. The VPNFilter infected over half a million routers in more than 50 countries.
- VPNFilter can install malware onto devices and systems connected to the router, enabling communication between the connected devices and the internet.
- Therefore, it can also collect information moving through your router. And also, it can block network traffic and steal passwords.
Cybercriminals can control the power of IoT devices.
- In 2016, thousands of compromised connected devices were into a botnet dubbed Mirai. A botnet can merge the processing power of small devices to launch a large-scale cyberattack.
- In this instance, temporarily shut down significant websites were such as Spotify, Netflix, and PayPal.
Give a name to the router
Don’t hold with the name the manufacturer gave it as it might recognize the make or model. Hence, provide it an unusual name not associated with the street address.
Use a robust encryption method for Wi-Fi
In router settings, it’s a great approach to use a robust encryption method, like WPA2, whenever setting up Wi-Fi network access. Therefore, this will help keep the network and communications secure.
Set up a guest network
Keep the Wi-Fi account private. Visitors, friends, and relatives can log into a separate network that doesn’t tie into the IoT devices of the home.
Switch default usernames and passwords
Cybercriminals seemingly already know the default passwords that come with many IoT products. Hence, it is then easy for them to access the IoT devices and the information they carry.
Use robust, unique passwords for Wi-Fi networks and device accounts
Try to avoid common words or passwords that are obvious to guess, such as “password” or “123456.” Alternatively, use unique, complex passwords formed up of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Check the setting of the devices
The IoT devices might arrive with default privacy and security settings. There might be a need to consider changing them, as some default settings benefit the manufacturer more than they help someone.
Disable features that are not needed
IoT devices have a variety of services, such as remote access, often enabled by default. If the feature is not needed, make sure to disable it.
Keep the software up to date
Whenever a smartphone manufacturer sends a software update, please don’t put off installing it. Thus, it might be a scrap for a security defect.
Therefore, mobile security is essential since one may connect to the smart home through mobile devices. The IoT device makers also may send the updates, or one might have to visit their websites to review them. Be sure to download updates and implement them on the device to stay safe.
Audit the IoT devices on the home network
It might be time to update the remote security camera. Take time to verify if newer models might offer more robust security.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
If one ever used net banking, one might know what multi-factor authentication is. Multi, typically two-factor authentication or 2FA, is an added layer of security beyond a mere password.
Hence, with 2FA, every time someone tries to log in to one’s IoT device, they ought to grant additional proof of identification, such as a one-time code sent to the cellphone, as this can keep the bad guys out of the accounts.
Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
One might want to manage the IoT devices through the mobile device in a coffee shop. If one is on public Wi-Fi, instead should use a VPN.
Apply a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW)
While the router has a built-in firewall, it may not prove to be sufficient. A traditional firewall lacks essential security characteristics like an intrusion prevention system (IPS), a virtual private network (VPN), malware protection, content filtering, SSL/SSH interception, and QoS management.
Therefore, a next-generation firewall is an open network platform that connects a traditional firewall with additional security functionalities. Hence, an NGFW has all the abilities of a traditional firewall, making it compelling in detecting and protecting against cyberattacks.
One can buy the most valuable IoT devices from top companies, and yet, at the end of the day, the smart home’s security is in your hands.
Therefore, take the time to analyze before committing to any device. Examine if it’s still getting updates from the manufacturer or has vulnerabilities reported by users. Thus, it takes time and money, but it’s always more reliable to be safe than regretful.
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