Many people use smart devices in their homes these days. Soon, IoT devices are going to be ubiquitous. It is forecast that by 2025, there will be over 75 billion connected IoT devices worldwide.
It stands to reason that the more devices you have connected to the Internet, the greater the cybersecurity risk. But IoT devices are still relatively new. For instance, you may have only recently installed a smart speaker in your home. So, perhaps you aren’t aware of the risks yet, or how to protect yourself. As smart devices are becoming increasingly popular, it just makes sense to learn how to protect your tech sooner rather than later.
1. Update Software and Devices Regularly
If you fail to update your devices regularly, you may leave them vulnerable to cyber attacks. You wouldn’t keep a rusty, old lock on the front door of your house. Similarly, you shouldn’t stick with outdated software/devices that have outdated security measures.
Manufacturers often offer updates for their devices, so don’t neglect to install them. Furthermore, check for firmware updates which some manufacturers are offering to solve security issues.
2. Install Security Tools on Your Main Devices
It’s likely that you use your laptop, tablet or smartphone to control other smart devices. If you add security tools to these devices then you reduce the risk of hackers gaining access to all of your IoT devices.
Firstly, you should use a decent antivirus to ward off the threat of new malware which cybercriminals are inventing all of the time. It’s also a good idea to encrypt your data using a VPN. But note that free versions sometimes restrict the number of devices or the amount of data you can protect. So, they are not ideal if you’re specifically seeking out protection for IoT devices.
3. Isolate IoT Devices
Another option would be to have your IoT devices on a separate network. It’s risky to have all of your devices connected to just one network. The issue being, if one device gets hacked, the hacker can access the rest. Some home routers allow you to divide network traffic so you can have the main network as well as a guest network for devices you feel are less secure.
4. Do Your Research
You should only ever buy smart devices from a reputable manufacturer. Other options may be cheaper, but they may also be less secure. The reason smart devices are so useful is that they collect data to offer you a personalized experience. For example, Amazon states the following:
“Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions and related information in the cloud in order to respond to your requests (e.g., “Send a message to Mom”), to provide additional functionality (e.g., speech to text transcription and vice versa), and to improve our services.”
For every device you use, you need to know what kind of data it is storing and to what purpose. Perhaps, you want to ensure that none of your data is shared with third parties. Moreover, you need to look into the apps connected to your devices and check their respective privacy policies to make sure your data is safe.
5. Limit the Number of Connected Devices
Every time you connect a device to the web cybercriminals have a potential way in. You may be tech-obsessed, but not every single device in your home needs to be smart, surely. And not every device needs to be connected to the Internet all the time. It is possible to check which devices you currently have connected by visiting your router’s web portal. By reducing the number of connections, you reduce the risk of being hacked.