These days, you can’t throw a stone without hitting a device that’s connected to the web. The internet of things (IoT) is a global network of technologies that uses internet connections to transmit and receive data.
It’s fundamentally changed the way we work and live.
We employ this technology in all places, from the office to our homes. This article will explore the use of smart devices in the home, the potential associated security risks and how you can mitigate them with the appropriate software.
The first intelligent home technology that typically springs to mind is the smart home assistant, like Amazon’s Alexa. This tech operates on voice and app commands and can perform functions on any device that’s connected to a Wi-Fi network such as turning on a music speaker, dimming the lights or commanding a robot vacuum cleaner to get to work.
Smart thermostats can adjust your home’s temperature via an app without anyone needing to get up to adjust it manually at the wall. Smart TVs allow you to watch films and series via streaming services like Netflix and HBO. Smart refrigerators come equipped to execute a range of tasks like adjusting temperature via an app.
The above cases are by no means an exhaustive list, but what you need to know is the similarity they all share: transmitting and receiving data via an internet connection. These devices require a pathway of sorts, and each one presents criminals with an opportunity to steal your personal information, track logs to see if you’re home or even hold your tech hostage until you pay a ransom.
Very few IoT data regulations exist anywhere in the world, and the fast-paced IoT market means manufacturers are under pressure to produce innovative products without doing enough due diligence on security and privacy issues. They often don’t focus on patching security vulnerabilities when they arise.
All this means it’s the owner’s responsibility to protect themselves against the threat of data leaks or theft.
Fortunately, there’s a wide range of precautionary measures you can take:
- Regularly change your Wi-Fi network name and maintain a strong password to keep it under lock and key.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) that acts as a secret tunnel to hide your online activity from would-be threat actors.
- Opt for two- or multi-factor authentication on your devices to verify the user’s identity.
- Make sure each device or account has a different set of log in credentials.
- Turn off voice control when you’re not actively using that feature.
- Disable universal plug-and-play, as allowing devices to automatically discover each other might enable a hacker to infiltrate them.
- Keep security systems separate from networks that use voice commands.
- Delete data history regularly.
It’s vital to invest in security software for your IoT devices, too. Also called embedded security software, these IoT security solutions are designed to secure tech largely through encryption to protect communication, as well as application program interface (API) and USB connections. They also perform scans and analytics to identify any possible threats and vulnerabilities.
There are firewalls for IoT devices, too. These programs track incoming and outgoing traffic on the network and determine whether to allow specific traffic to come through as defined by security rules. Some software responds to attacks automatically, and others can separate devices so that if one is breached, the others aren’t.
It’s vital to secure your smart home devices and, therefore, your personal information. Learn more about Total Defense.