6 Beginner Tips for Securing IoT

One of the biggest concerns with the Internet of Things (IoT) is security. IoT presents all sorts of risks and vulnerabilities including privacy concerns, insecure interfaces, insecure network service, and improper security configuration. Since the number, if IoT devices expected to grow to almost 31 billion by 2020, it’s important to understand how to secure IoT to prevent fraud, data loss, and other risks. Keep reading to learn 6 beginner tips for securing IoT technologies to include web HMI open source applications, appliances, consoles, and more.

  1. Segment Your Network

If you’re looking for high security, consider creating a separate network for smart devices. To do this, you’ll need at least two routers which allow you to create a separate network per router. Set up one network to be used for work, online banking, and other daily activities. The other network should be strictly used for connecting your smart coffee machine, appliances, and more. By segmenting your network, it’s much harder for hackers to be successful in hijacking your network. Taking control of a network from a compromised smart device is much harder when compared to a compromised laptop or phone.

  1. Change Default Passwords & Settings

Complex passwords can be frustrating and hard to remember but they are vital in protecting your data. When using IoT devices it’s important to reset the default passwords. These days there are automated scanners that search the website for connected devices that still use default passwords. This makes it much easier for a hacker to exploit them. Choose a complex password that includes:

  • Uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Numbers
  • Special characters

It’s also important to review the default settings on your IoT devices. One setting you’ll want to turn off is Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Be sure to disable any unwanted features and be sure the privacy features are up to par.

  1. Connect Securely

These days hotspots are everywhere, and while they’re convenient, they’re highly insecure. Hotspots are prime targets for hackers. To protect your connection, use a VPN and be sure to use encryption.

When connecting or accessing your smart device using the Internet, always connect using a secure channel. You should always use HTTPS vs. HTTP. By connecting to a non-secured channel, you increase the odds of a hacker capturing your network traffic, stealing your credentials, and gaining access to your device.

  1. Know Where Your Data Is Going

Many of today’s top IoT devices use cloud services. While the convenience of having your data uploaded to the cloud without any action on your part, this functionality requires that your device is connected to the Internet. This poses many issues.

One, you should never connect your IoT device unless you’re using a feature that requires it. Having your device connected 24/7 gives hackers all the time in the world to plan and conduct an attack. Automatic data syncing is also dangerous in that your sensitive data could end up in the wrong hands.

Always read the device provider’s privacy policy. You want peace of mind that your personal data is properly protected using encryption and other security measures.

  1. Accept Updates

Sometimes updates can be annoying. They can be time-consuming and during updates, you can’t use your device. Some weeks it feels like you’re installing a new update each day! But keep in mind that firmware updates are what protect your device from known security vulnerabilities. By not keeping your IoT devices updated, you risk a hacker gaining unauthorized access via a remote attack. So while the few minutes it takes to update your device may feel like hours, this is nothing compared to the time you will lose if your device is compromised.

  1. Disconnect Devices When Not In Use

Not using an Internet-based feature of your smart device? Don’t connect to the Internet! It’s best to keep your devices disconnected from the Internet if the functionality isn’t needed. Keeping your devices connected, especially when they’re not in use, makes them much easier to hack into. The longer and more often your devices are connected, the easier you make it for hackers and other malicious actors.

While disconnecting is important, it’s also critical to know what’s connected at any given time. Keep track of all of your connected devices and ensure that each of them have been properly secured. This includes appliances, media players, gaming consoles, toys, and any other smart item you may own.

Conclusion

IoT has forever changed how we do business, how we learn, how we interact, and how we live our day to day lives. But, to minimize the risks associated with IoT, it’s important to take the time to secure your devices and to know the ins and outs of keeping your devices and network safe. Here’s two years of connected living!

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