The Internet of Things (IoT) is a widespread reality – phones, laptops, watches, tablets, appliances, and other smart devices are present in almost every part of our lives. The IoT is an amazing convenience, but if not secured properly it can also be a major liability in regard to personal data and privacy. This week’s theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month is securing the internet-connected devices in your home. Here are some strategies to help you Do Your Part and #BeCyberSmart.
When it comes to security for smart devices in your home, it is important to do research to find the most effective tools to protect personal information and privacy. Look at user reviews of smart devices before making a purchase, and learn about the security features that are included. If a device does not have the full extent of security features you want, make sure you would be able to add those features, and ensure the apps or software you intend to use are effective and legitimate. Configure security and privacy settings immediately on new devices. Remove unnecessary features, services, or software that are pre-installed. To protect physical devices and the data stored on them, consider using a remote management solution for added security and control over your data and privacy.
Use strong passwords on all of your devices. If your device comes with a default password, change it to something unique. For accounts, apps, and other services that use the internet or cloud, change passwords often. Use a unique password for each of your accounts so that if your password for one account is compromised, your other accounts are not in danger. Use a variety of characters – uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols – to ensure each password is strong and not guessable, which is especially important to thwart brute-force attacks. For all accounts that have the option of adding two-factor or multi-factor authentication, use this as an extra security step to keep your account safe in the event your login credentials are compromised.
Trustworthy Software and Apps
It is a common misconception that simply because an app store includes a protection or verification service, all apps available through that platform are safe. Do your own research on apps and software before downloading from unknown sources. Pay attention to the permissions an app requests, and if they align with the purpose of the app. Excessive data usage, crashing, Adware, and overheating might be signs that an app is unsafe. Keep security software and browsers updated so that any security gaps are consistently patched and you have protection against new threats. Use a browser or software that will warn you if a site seems suspicious.
Keep smart devices secure when they are connected by using tools that prevent unauthorized access to your network and protect your online identity. Use reliable antivirus protection and a firewall to deter malware from entering through malicious sites and apps. Secure your Wireless network and router with the highest level of security available (the NIST encourages WPA3). Using a VPN or Tor Browser can help to protect your identity by hiding your IP Address while you browse the internet.
Do your part, #BeCyberSmart, and educate friends and family about the threats that exist and best practices for securing smart devices in the home. Being aware of cybersecurity threats and solutions is critical to protecting your personal data and devices and taking action in an emergency.
There are many resources available if you want to learn more about smart home security. Organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), and others have information about securing the Internet of Things. Here are a few resources:
DriveStrike provides enterprise-level device and data security at a low consumer price. With features such as Remote Wipe, Lock, and Locate, and other device management options, DriveStrike is an essential part of any robust cybersecurity plan. Sign up for a free trial to start protecting your data today.
We are dedicated to the security of our customers and readers, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions about your options for keeping your data and devices safe, or about cybersecurity in general.
Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.
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