Smart devices are increasing day to day in our lives as these things are more powerful and convenient to use. Found almost everywhere right from our homes, offices, businesses, automobiles to hospitals and factories these smart devices are collectively given a cool sounding name – the Internet of Things (IoT). As these are connected to large networks, they are kicking in a significant security risk.
According to a Gartner report, it has been estimated that by the year 2020, these connected things will go up to 20.8 billion in numbers. Their number has already reached more than 6.4 billion in the year 2016. Most of these are connected to the cloud-based infrastructure, so once they are infected a large amount of data is exposed to the hackers.
The security of the Internet of Things is crucial because it can even put human lives at risk. However, you can minimize the risks by taking these 5 basic precautions:
Owners of smart gadgets should check the manufacturer’s site of the devices they own, to see if firmware updates or patches are available. Vendors of smart devices continuously work to fix the bugs, and if your devices are not updated, then it could be dangerous to use such gadgets. Do not fall victim to hackers and take this proactive approach by not ignoring the pop-ups and little reminders for software updates.
Secure your Network
Only verified devices should be allowed to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and it’s very helpful to use VPN when accessing the internet. Do not try to use free unsecured networks, as it can potentially expose your vulnerabilities. Malicious hackers can easily access your valuable information through these unverified networks. Use of VPN can act as an additional layer of security.
Change the Default Password
The Internet of Things cannot run without web connections. So like your computers, you should follow the same security protocols with your router and other gadgets too. Most of the devices come with basic and advanced security features, and you must enable them to secure your smart gadgets. The access to your devices might be controlled by fingerprints or passcodes, but it can at least limit the access to your device by any strangers. Change the default passwords of your gadgets and replace them with complicated, but easy to remember, versions.
It is recommended that you create a strong password for your home routers and use the security protocol WPA2. Many routers are still using the old WEP protocol, like using your pet’s name as a password, which is posing a great risk to your home network.
Use Robust Antivirus
To protect your IoT devices from hackers, you should use a smart home security solution which can safeguard your smart TVs, washing machine, baby monitor, fitness tracker, smartphone, laptops, microwave, gaming console, WiFi thermostat or any device that is connected to the internet. Some such devices have incorporated antivirus software that goes an extra mile to protect your mobile devices while you are on the go. It doesn’t matter if you are connected via a wireless network or mobile network, a good antivirus takes care of all cyber security issues.
Turn off (UPnP) Universal Plug and Play
The Universal Plug and Play feature in the router was made so that devices can find each other for communicating and sharing the files. But unfortunately, this service had so many loopholes that it puts all the connected devices at a high-security risk. The protocol in UPnP allows the programs in port forwarding, and if any equipment is exposed, then hackers can get access to the other connected devices too.
Smart device users need to be smart enough while securing the Internet of Things. The security of IoT just does not start at the user’s end, but the whole process should begin while planning and designing these smart devices. While developing the IoT, these devices should undergo security checks in the different phases of their development life cycle and not only when the device is fully designed. Cyber-attacks on smart devices cannot be stopped but they can be detected, and their effectiveness can be limited to a great extent by taking these precautions.