The total number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections worldwide is projected to reach 83 billion by 2024. These IoT, aka “smart devices” - such as your refrigerator, coffee maker, HVAC system, security cameras, and more - connect to your home network to add convenience and comfort. According to a 2020 survey, the average American household contained more than ten connected devices. As helpful as these innovative devices are, they present significant IoT device risks that consumers need to be aware of. If your home is connected, you need to protect it.
IoT devices are growing in popularity and manufacturers are experiencing high demand for these devices. To keep up with the latest IoT trends and innovations, companies tend to be more focused on getting their products to market than they are on securing new products and updating previous ones. Thus they present a tempting target for cybercriminals. An IoT device that’s only been on the market for six months could have serious security vulnerabilities that even an inexperienced hacker can breach.
Every IoT device in your home is a data collector. What many consumers don’t realize is that these devices do not come equipped to keep that data secure out of the box. Hackers know this and will often attempt to infiltrate home networks through these vulnerable devices. A single unprotected IoT device in your home can allow hackers to:
To ensure hackers can’t get access to your home network or your data you need to secure not only your network but also each and every IoT device.
The first step you should take to secure your network is change the name and password for your router. Never use the router’s default settings as they can be easily hacked. You also want to avoid using your own name or address when naming your network. Create a strong password for your router containing a mix of letters (both upper- and lower-case), special characters, and symbols.
Once you have secured your home router, your next step is to improve the security of each individual IoT device. This also involves changing the default username and password on each device, but it’s worth investing the time to do so. If a connected device doesn’t give you the option to change its name or password, then you should strongly consider choosing a different device to avoid leaving your network exposed.
Your next step should be to check the device’s default security and privacy settings. To reduce IoT device risks, disable any features you do not want or that leave you open to risks, like having remote access enabled or voice control always open. If you purchased an IoT device more for its basic functions and not its networking capability, you may not need to connect that device to your network at all. Only connect those devices for which doing so offers a noticeable benefit.
After securing all your IoT devices, you should regularly check the manufacturers’ websites to stay up to date with any software or firmware updates as they’re rolled out. Keeping the software and firmware updated will help ensure any known security vulnerabilities have been plugged.
Lastly, when buying new smart home devices for your home, don’t make your selection solely on its functionality or looks – always look at how strong its IoT device security is.
Ensuring your home’s network and IoT devices are secure takes time and effort. If you’re wondering if there is a better solution, there is - Winston! Winston is a comprehensive data privacy device that protects every device connected to your home network. Your family and your data will be safer with Winston protecting your home.
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