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Securing the Internet of Things

IT graphic with arrows

Your Fitbit, refrigerator, security cameras, thermostat, car, etc., can be examples of “The Internet of Things” (IoT) . IoT refers to any object or device which connects to the Internet to automatically send and/or receive data.

As more businesses and homeowners use web-connected devices to enhance company efficiency or lifestyle conveniences, their connection to the Internet also increases the target space for malicious cyber actors. Similar to other computing devices, like computers or Smartphones, IoT devices also pose security risks to consumers.

A few security tips

  • Change your password. Many users continue to use the default password that comes with the device, or reuse passwords from other accounts. An easy way to make your device more secure is to personalize your password – ‘default’ and ‘123456’ are more commonly used than you may think.
  • Be aware of your device’s capabilities and limitations. Does your smart fridge sync with and display your Gmail calendar? Can your medical IoT devices connect with services remotely? Does your smart heating app encrypt your data when sending it between devices? Knowing which devices connect with which applications, how and why they do so and how they communicate can help you spot weaknesses and figure out how best to protect your information.
  • Find the “off” toggle in the settings menu on your smart device.
  • Don’t leave connected devices on when you’re not using them.
  • Take it offline. If Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity in a product doesn’t offer a tangible benefit to you, buy the non-connected version. If a non¬connected version isn’t available, you can still buy the smart product—just don’t set it up on your Wi-Fi network. It may sound obvious, but it’s worth stating: If a device isn’t connected to the Internet, there’s no snooping and no hacking.
  • Update security patches as often as possible. Once security flaws are disclosed, your devices are vulnerable to attack, making malware easier to install and your information easier to intercept. Patching software as soon as updates are available will mean that you stay as protected as possible.

Additional cyber tips on secure internet connected devices