One factor that is quite often unheeded by tech and gadget enthusiasts bouncing out of excitement over the inbound surge of intelligent, connected home devices is security. Since computers have become conventional for home usage or any other, most of us have got to grasp the idea of keeping it secure.

It is impossible to understand the level of attacks that could soon be coming from a multitude of other angles. With an explosion in adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) devices in our homes and offices, we’re becoming more susceptible to hacking. The tech developers aren’t the only group of people excited by the possibilities of IoT; hackers are even more excited to exploit vulnerabilities as and when more IoT devices roll in.

This leaves the onus of protecting IoT devices and the network on the IT specialists. The following are some tips to minimize risks as much as possible:

1) Keep the softwares up-to-date

When you change any of the passwords, it’s also advisable to keep a check on the software for each device and ensuring that the most current version is in use. Device developers will release a software update that remediates the detected threats. However, a lot of IoT devices do not have a software update distribution model like that for PCs, so handle the responsibility of staying well-run about installing these updates.

2) Be alert of what’s on your network

It is vital to know your smart devices and also ascertain their security positions from time to time. As far as possible, refrain from using the ones that carry innate vulnerabilities. Because of the multiple touchpoints like sensors and actuators, it is important to factor in this point, else the data relayed on the different end points would tend to be compromised.

3) Put devices behind a suitable firewall

Ensure that your LAN, and all your IoT endpoints are well secured by something stronger than an off-the-shelf Wi-Fi router. Consider a UTM solution or a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that can offer considerable IoT security at the gateway to the Internet.

4) Set up a separate network for your IoT devices

A lot of Wi-Fi routers enable guest networking – the ability of giving visitors an access to your network without granting permission to view the shared files or networked devices. A similar separation would work well for devices where IoT security is questionable as well. This means that if a hacker successfully interrupts your IoT network, he/she is less likely to access any of your confidential computer files.

5) Make use of complex, unique passwords

The generic password issued with the device should be changed as soon as possible. Besides, every IoT device that is managed through an internet based account should be secured with a unique username and password that consists of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. This variation prevents hackers from accessing several accounts with just one compromised password.

6) Disable unnecessary features

In order to avoid your IoT security from getting exploited, ensure disabling devices with features that include cameras and voice recognition software. Hackers can make use of these features to breach privacy, so the safest idea is to disable capabilities that aren’t used.

7) Initiate penetration tests

One way of determining if your devices or networks can fend off a probable attack is by routinely conducting penetration tests to stimulate a situation and evaluate the outcome.

To conclude

The IoT trend is speeding up, as are attempts by hackers to exploit IoT endpoints to breach privacy and gain access to confidential information. Small business owners or individuals who want to safeguard their privacy and data should therefore take steps to protect their networks.

This starts by identifying that many IoT devices are not designed with security in mind, so it’s up to the end user to ensure that the device doesn’t become vulnerable to hackers. As convenience and human effort saving devices, they undoubtedly have the potential of making our lives easier comfortable, and safer. But caution will certainly be recommended – and users can start to protect themselves by first asking “Do I need it?” and later, “Do I understand its effects?”

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