The Internet of Things phenomena has taken off like nothing before it. The world is quickly moving towards far greater interconnectedness. Now people can set their air conditioner temperature at the right level from a smartphone before getting home. They can put the kettle on from the living room by simply tapping a few buttons. There are thousands of other benefits of using IoT devices. But, as with everything else in life, there is a catch. And the catch here is a big one – security!
5 Ways To Make Home IoT Devices More Secure
IoT Devices – Not As Safe as You Think
IoT devices are woefully vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A hacker can tap into any one of the IoT devices in a home and gain access to every other connected device. The fact of the matter is that IoT devices are not built with security in mind. The security frameworks they have are not scalable and most IoT users don’t even know how their devices are at risk. This allows cybercriminals to exploit these vulnerabilities and steal your private data.
5 Easy Steps to Improve Your IoT Device Security Today
With that said, IoT device owners can take a number of steps to keep them well protected. These range from simple security practices to more advanced threat prevention measures. Let’s have a look at these and see how they can help make home IoT environments much safer.
Uniquely Identify Your Router
The first step needed to secure IoT devices is to name the router they are connected to. This simple task allows instant identification of a router among all others in the area. However, they should not be named in any way which leads to the owner’s personal identity. So, the smart move is to use an unusual name which can be easily recalled. It may also be a good idea to change the router name from time to time. Ideally, owners should change their router password every 3 months. They can go on and change the router name at that time as well.
Establish a Guest Network
Creating an auxiliary network is a lot like having a guest room in a home. Much as anyone may like having people over, they can easily compromise IoT device security. They will use the home router so it is best to create a guest network which they can use. This will also ensure they do not get full access to the primary network. In case their devices are already compromised, the hacker will not be able to breach into the main network. This is a good way to insulate a home network from any external threats. Again, it is important to keep changing network names and passwords periodically for enhanced security.
These days, encryption is one of the most important cybersecurity measures any network can have. This includes both commercial as well as private networks. Any home which has IoT devices must also have a robust encryption system. Ideally, this encryption or VPN protocol must be an integral part of the router itself. However, this can lead to some problems since router VPNs are relatively rare and are also hard to upgrade. So, a more viable alternative is to have a master device which can host the VPN service. This device can then extend the VPN encryption to all connected IoT devices. As a result, all traffic including access permissions would be routed through an encryption tunnel. No one outside the authorized encryption tunnel will be able to access any device data storage, even if it is cloud-based.
Customize Your IoT Devices
One of the best things about IoT devices is that they can be customized to suit individual needs. Any home which has these devices will also have members who use them according to their specific tastes. Now, depending upon the company end-user policy and related privacy statement, the device might collect some data.
This is mostly done to improve the user experience and give the company usage-based feedback. However, it is not uncommon for data to be stored and shared with third parties. Amazon’s Alexa is rumored to record conversations even when it is turned off. The same goes for any voice activated IoT like the fridge or air conditioners. It is important for all users to know any security-related issues their devices may have. This will help them either opt out of shady or grey area data collection or take measures to protect your privacy. A good example of this is taping up your laptop camera when not using it or deselecting personalization settings you don’t need.
Keep Up With Security Updates and Cybersecurity News
When it comes to IoT, threat mitigation is a matter being in the know at all times of the latest dangers. It all begins with choosing the right IoT devices company but the user cannot simply rely on the company’s security protocols. Do not go for any kind of IoT device with hardwired authorization details. A key element of protecting network integrity and preventing unauthorized IoT device access is to have custom logins. Another important thing to remember is that all IoT devices must have scalable security parameters. Ideally, there should be a regular update sent out by the company. This is one of the most important ways to ensure the device can keep evolving cyber threats at bay.
The world is evolving rapidly and IoT will be a big part of our future. We may be a few years away from self-driving cars and home delivery by drones. But IoT will certainly become a common feature in nearly every household. With new technologies come new challenges and IoT will require both expert cybersecurity as well as end-user knowledge. This is the only way to ensure that the many vulnerabilities that IoT devices have right now are compensated for. It is expected that the security framework of these devices will be reinforced in the coming years. However, till that time and even after, user choice and security knowledge is sure to play a vital role in this field.