Artificial intelligence is creating a buzz in every industry with its innovative solutions to normal day to day tasks. A lot of automation has been incorporated in today’s technology that they have now become a necessity. The sudden boom in internet usage has rapidly built the IoT market globally. You can find IoT devices in every discipline. From large companies to hospitals and now households. Asking Siri to dim the lights for you or your car detecting traffic and notifying you through mails, might be the smartest features ever. But they do come with a price. As much as it has made life easier, it also came with the risk of losing privacy.
IoT or Internet of things is the device that has sensors to send and receive signals from other devices connected to it using the internet. They are like those dump devices that have a temporary brain of their own which helps them communicate with other devices and humans. As cool as it sounds, it is also quite intimidating. Imagine giving so much control of your life to these devices and someone taking advantage of that. Hackers are skilled enough to get control of the devices remotely and steal all your private data.
Sounds scary right?
That is why it is important to take some precautionary steps when using the internet to work with devices so that the bad guys don’t reach you. Here are some tips that will help you stay protected and keep your IoT devices safe.
- Secure your WI-FI Connection
- Put up the firewall
Go to the control panel of your pc and put up firewall settings to avoid hacking or entrance of viruses and malware. Some applications do not tend to work if a firewall is there. For them, customize the settings. A restricted entrance through the internet is the first step to protect your data.
- Count your device
Keep track of the number of IoT devices at home that is running. Some internet providers developed apps that let you keep track of the devices which are currently using your network and notify you when a new device gets connected. If the device is not recognizable, check its mac ID and see if it matches with any of your own devices. If not, then block the device and change your WI-FI password. It is advisable to change your password periodically. Some people find it unnecessary but it’s just a healthy practice to keep your connection safe.
- Use Password On All Devices
Change the default passwords for the devices you can. Manufacturers already have that password and they most probably keep an easy one. (like 12345 or abcd) . It won’t take much for the cybercriminals to get hands-on it. Set the different unique passwords for each device using a combination of letters, characters, and numbers.
- Create a Separate Network for devices
Your IoT devices are most probably connected to your PC or mobile phone which contains a lot of sensitive data that you would rather not want it to be exposed to or exploited. It is a common mistake and most of us don’t care enough. Some electronic appliances working through the internet, may not have password settings or any scope of increasing security. Like your IoT washing machine or microwave. If all your IoT devices connect through a single network, hackers can get access to your personal device through those and then steal your data. Do not connect those devices to your personal device. Create a separate network for them or a separate router if you can. This will create some complexity for hackers.
- Update the software
This may not be applicable for all devices but keep the software of other devices up to date for that extra security. New updates are developed by programmers to fix the bugs and security patches of the system. A new version will have a better security patch. Sticking to old versions not only increases the potential threat but also slows down the system of the device. If an automatic update is not available, then download it separately.
- See What You are Buying
IoT devices are flooding the market. You will find a single type of product at various price ranges. Just to keep up with the competition, many companies make cheap products but comprise the software quality. However, they may work fine and seem non-threatening at the front. But realize that when they connect to your network, the security is somewhat at stake. Always buy such products from reputable companies who provide built-in Public-key Infrastructure Service (PKI) and proper encryption standards for the device. They should also be TLS/SSL compliant. These are all standard certification for conducting secure communication through cryptography.
- Avoid Using Public WI-FI
Since, it is an open network, the security system generally most unsafe and filled with malware. Not that you will be attacked as soon as you connect your smartphone. But it is highly vulnerable. Do not use public internet on phone to control your IoT devices at home. At most, you can use a secure VPN or your mobile internet.
The concept of the Internet of Things is gradually becoming a part of our lifestyle. In the coming years, we will see more advancement in the field. Perhaps a solid secure network connection and advanced integrated security. Till then, do your part, follow these simple practices, and keep your devices safe. When not in use, disconnect them.