The Internet of things is gradually creeping into our system as it is incorporated in our daily essential electronics like refrigerator, TV, AC, Thermostat, washing machine, etc. , making all the dumb devices smart with the help of the internet, Bluetooth, and other wireless protocols. So while we are out and about, our electronics can interact with each other and get some work done. Alexa and Siri are proving themselves to be better managers than us. They are making appointments, giving reminders, and entertaining us whenever we want it. Also, it has become easier to keep track of health with the emergence of fitness bands and other smart medical sensors. As much as it has been a boon in our lives, it has also brought some privacy issues. When a device is becoming so personalized, it is bound to collect information about everything you own and also analyze your pattern of behavior to predict the next action. With so much personal information going inside the IoT system, one can imagine the danger if somehow someone breaks into your system and get hold of this data. They can use your device to spy on you or extract your banking details. When so much is at stake, one should be cautious while handling their IoT devices. Don’t let the hackers catch you.
Here’s what you can do to keep your IoT devices protected from cybercriminals.
- Change Router configuration
Every router has a default user name and password set by the manufacturer. Change the preset configurations as the other parties already know it. It won’t take much of a hassle for the hackers to get hold of it. Try to set a complicated password and limit the count of the number of devices that can connect to your WI-FI. It will be better if you keep the count only as many as your number of devices using the internet. This way, you can make sure no external device is secretly using your WI-FI.
- Keep track of Your devices
Know about all the IoT devices you have at home, including our kid’s gadgets. The ones that are currently active will appear on the list of devices in the settings of your Smartphone or PC with their MAC IDs. Your internet service provider may also notify you whenever any new device is connecting. If you are unable to recognize the device, you can block it and change your password.
- Use VPN
VPN encryption is the best solution to protect your network from those cyberpunks. Virtual Private Network, a.k.a VPN uses a cryptic message to encode your network and channel it through a public domain safely. Your internet activity becomes untraceable when using a VPN. Norton Secure VPN is one of the most trusted choices. If you have to deal with a lot of sensitive data, investing in a VPN will be worth your money.
- Set up Multiple Networks
Having only one network connecting all your devices will increase the risk factor. If there’s any infiltration, all the IoT devices are exposed t threat. Nowadays, routers have the option to create multiple networks within a single network. You can use it to split up between the main network and another network running all your IoT devices. It won’t be too easy for hackers to penetrate through the IoT channel through the parent one.
- Disable the Useless features
IoT devices use the internet to send signals to their peers. These days in the market, you will find many IoT devices with a lot of additional features which also requires connecting to other devices to fulfill a task. To some, they are necessary, for others they are not. If you don’t use a feature too often then you can disable it. Or just shut down the device when you are not using it. We don’t want to make unnecessary connections for the sake of safety.
- Disable UPnP
The UPnP feature may seem quite useful as it eliminates the configuration step and directly connects the device to your router. So while working you won’t need to configure every device you use individually. But what we are ignoring here is that it opens your network to all the potential threats without your notice. Hackers can secretly install a key logger in your system via some virus or bot, which is then used to extract all bank or credit card credentials and then send it through the c2 server. Basically, they can steal your private data. So consider keeping your UPnP off. Set passwords for each of your IoT devices.
- Avoid Open WI-FI
Don’t make that mistake to connect your IoT device to open WI-FI. Open WI-FI systems in public are the hotspots where hackers employ themselves. Keep your IoT devices away from your workplace or use your smartphone to connect to them via an open network.
- Use Multi-factor Authentication
All IoT devices may not have that option like your smart speakers or smart A.C. Keep it for that you can. In such authentications, OTPs are used to link your devices other than passwords. This provides an extra layer of lock for accessing your device. All you have to do is not to disclose the OTP to anyone.
- Update all hardware and software
Lastly, You may want to be up to date with the latest versions. So if you are still using the old model of devices, it may be your choice, but the new ones always come with better features and usually with the latest software system. Consider updating your software whenever a new version arrives. We usually forget keeping track so put on automatic update if possible.
Developers around the world are still working on making IoT a secure platform as its popularity is increasing and automation is becoming a household thing. For people who are already applying it in their lives are also risking their privacy to some level. So it will be better for you to err on the side of caution by taking these simple measures and enjoy a smart living.