It seems like nowadays everything is connected to the internet. Whether it’s your phone, television, home appliances, and even your car. While before it may have been a crazy thought to have these devices connected online, it’s no longer a strange thing.
But with this connectivity comes vulnerability.
Back in October, a massive internet outage caused many internet users unable to access common websites like Twitter or Netflix. The outage was helped because of hacked IoT devices or Internet of Things.
According to a recent NPR article, IoT devices have its weaknesses and advantages. For example, you would have the ability to control your internet connected thermostat while you are away from home. But some devices may not have great security.
However, there are ways in which you can reduce the risk of compromise to your home network and smart products.
The Federal Trade Commission has released steps both consumers and businesses can take to protect their privacy and security when using IoT devices.
Some of those steps include:
- Don’t just click “next” when you set up your IoT device. Review the default settings carefully before making a selection, and use the security features for your device. If it allows you to set up a passcode lockout (“three strikes and you’re out”) and enable encryption, you can add a layer of protection to your device.
- Download the latest security updates for your IoT device. To be secure and effective, the software that comes with your device needs updates. Before you set up a new device, and periodically afterwards, visit the manufacturer’s website or the device’s settings menu to see if there’s a new version of the software available for download. To make sure you hear about the latest version, register your device with the manufacturer and sign up to get updates.
- Change your pre-set passwords. The manufacturer may have assigned your device a standard default password. Hackers know the default passwords, so change it to something more complex and secure.