The IoT era is here, as statistics show that more than 7 billion devices had an internet connection as of 2018. By the end of 2020, the number is expected to grow to 10 billion.
Gartner, another reputable player in the IoT industry suggests that the number of connected devices will be no less than 25 billion by the end of 2021.
Interesting yet scary at the same time. Nowadays, there’s a world of new opportunities for IT hackers. Technology comes with perks but also with potential drawbacks and negative side-effects. If you own a smartphone, you’re already part of the movement.
If you start adding new gadgets like smart TVs, smart locks, smart thermostats, smart security cameras, and even gaming consoles that connect to the internet, you become more and more vulnerable to hacking attacks.
Before rushing for convenience, you should become familiar with the best privacy protection techniques that will provide a certain degree of safety. The bottom line is simple: if you’ve made the transition and built yourself a smart home (or you’re soon planning to), you need to secure it properly.
The Potential Dangers
Let’s assume that you keep adding more and smarter gadgets without paying attention to safety measures. Since the IoT industry is something that every cybercriminal can study and eventually hack, the entry points you’re offering may give you the following headaches:
- If a hacker manages to access your smart thermostat data, he’ll be able to tell whether you’re at home or away. If he’s part of a bigger criminal organization, he’ll deliver the information to professional thieves and burglars that will know exactly what to do.
- At the same time, a hacker can access the smart lock and leave your door open for burglars.
- A cybercriminal can get into your network through various IoT devices and unlock (or lock). You may become a target of a ransomware attack, which involves paying a certain amount of money to be left alone. Of course, you have no guarantees that the hacker will leave you alone after you pay.
- “One of the worst possible scenarios when it comes to IoT cyberattacks is people getting blackmailed. If a network is vulnerable to attacks, the hacker can get access to really sensitive information such as personal conversations, personal photos, emails, but also credit card numbers and passwords” – John Maxwell, CEO at writing services uk, a “smart” instant assignment help.
Why Are Smart Devices So Vulnerable and What Can You Do?
The primary target of attacks is your router. A cybercriminal will focus on breaking a router allows them to access the whole network. Secondly, a router has no “security locks” – you cannot install an antivirus to support your router. What this means is that your router and quite often, security cameras, are very vulnerable to malware.
Moreover, as the professional writing services suggest, most developers of IoT devices are focusing on selling their devices rather than keeping them ultra-secure. For that reason, there are quite a few poor security practices:
- Vulnerabilities can get created due to the lack of proper mechanisms for software updates
- Many IoT devices do not have a system hardening software that is meant to add an extra layer of protection
- Hardcoded or default passwords get exploited a lot by cyberhackers
What can you do?
The most useful advice is to point your attention towards your Wi-Fi router. Perceive it as a front door. If you keep it secure, the house will be untouched.
“Most individuals are accepting the routers suggested and given by their internet service providers. These routers often come as a “bonus” to the service pack. Unfortunately, those are rarely secure.” – Hannah Jax – Smart Cameras Developer and Manager.
First thing you have to do is purchase a professional secure router from an independent and reliable company. Additionally, before you buy any IoT device, make sure you take the following things into consideration:
- What privacy policies do they offer?
- Is your data stored?
- How do updates happen?
Nevertheless, are 10 additional insightful tips on how to protect your smart home and IoT devices:
Change the Name of Your Router
One of the first things you should do is give your router a name. If you leave it by default, cyberhackers will easily find out the model of your router, making it easier for them to gain access. Give your router a funny name perhaps while avoiding any personal identifiers.
Encrypt Your Wi-Fi
Every modern router provides more encryption possibilities in the “Settings” section. To keep your network, personal data, and communications secure, make sure you select a strong encryption method. As of today, the most secure one is WPA2.
Have a Guest Network
By setting up a guest network, you’re minimizing the risk of getting hacked.
Some of the services that focused on IoT technology suggests, “Whenever friends and relatives want to connect to your Wi-Fi, offer them the guest network password. If one of your friends has malware and you’re giving him access to your IoT network, things can get nasty.”
Change Your Username and Password Regularly
Simple yet very effective. Don’t leave your username and password by default and make sure you change them every month.
Always Use Strong Passwords
Use strong password generators (find them on Google) to prevent great hackers from guessing your passwords.
Disable All the Features that You Don’t Need
Features like remote access should always be disabled when you’re not using them. Make sure to disable any other irrelevant feature.
Always Keep Your Software Updated
Outdated software presents many potential security problems. Lots of cyber hackers are constantly targeting users that haven’t updated their IoT devices. Make sure you keep everything up to date!
Choose Two Factor Authentication
A one-time code that’s sent to your email or phone can do wonders. Whenever someone tries to log in to one of your accounts, you’ll be notified.
Try to Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Don’t use public Wi-Fi unless you absolutely have to. And even if you do, make sure you access it through a professional VPN (virtual private network). If a public network is infected with malware, all your IoT devices will be breached.
Constantly Consider Getting More Secure Devices
IoT users have the best chances to stay safe by constantly checking the marketplace for better solutions. The newest IoT tools will often come with better security.
Your personal privacy is more important than convenience. As you’re now aware of the potential dangers but also about the potential solutions, make sure you take action immediately and secure your sensitive data as soon as possible!