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November 27, 2018

Security of IoT devices

Internet of Things (IoT) devices refers to all the devices connected and to the internet in a home network.  These devices may include smart television sets, gaming consoles, smart security cameras, and locks.

While IoT can make life more convenient, it can expose your home to cybercriminals. It is, therefore, imperative to have a reliable defense plan to secure your home’s smart devices.

The Pros and Cons of having a robust IoT industry.

In the recent past, the IoT field has experienced rapid growth with almost every provider trying their best to dominate the market.

Even though having a variety is good, there is a risk too. As the big players battle for domination, the smaller companies are increasingly developing their Internet of Things protocols.

Regrettably, there’s still no clear IoT standard, and players are yet to arrive at a consensus of what a secure system looks like. With all the different players in the market, it is almost impossible for developers to come up with clear security solutions.

This means that users must make an extra effort to learn about their devices and identify security measures that fit them. Here are some of the most basic ways to protect your IoT devices.

Update your IoT devices and protect them with a password

Most people overlook the importance of protecting their IoT gadgets with secure passwords and keeping them up to date. Unfortunately, a good number of IoT appliances are outdated and insecure. Since most IoT devices are easy and straightforward to set up, most people plug them in, forget to secure them with strong passwords, and let them run.

It is okay to leave some IoT gadgets to run alone, but those with a direct line to your smartphone pose serious security threats and should never be left on default settings.  It is paramount that you take time and change default passwords and usernames on your smart devices.
To be on the safe side, consider setting up two-factor authentication. Additionally, find out whether your gadgets update automatically; if they don’t, take it upon yourself to check for software updates on a regular basis.

Secure your networks

Once you’ve secured your gadgets, go ahead and secure the main network as well. The good news is there are multiple ways to protect your central system against possible threats. Here are some suggestions.

Basic Network Security Protocols: ensure that your router or modem is password-protected and change any default passwords. You may also want to create a separate network for your guests (guest network) to allow your IoT devices to have their own network.

Standalone Firewall:  Firewall is specially designed to make sure cybercriminals and opportunists don't gain access to specific data in a computer or a network. It is therefore advisable to install a firewall on your router to help stop possible threats.

Use a VPN

A VPN can help secure your IoT devices against possible attacks. VPNs are designed to encrypt all the data traveling in a particular network. Thanks to this encryption, your smart gadgets will be in a position to connect to the internet as usual, but any third party will be obscured from gaining access to your various internet activities.

With the necessary VPN basics, you’ll be able to get the most out of your VPN. Since it may not be possible to use a VPN on each gadget, use a VPN on your modem or router. Note that, you may have to pay a particular amount of money every month or per year to use a VPN service.

Also, don't be surprised when your internet connection becomes slow or sluggish. VPNs are known to slow down internet connections because data has to be sent to an external source before arriving at its final destination.

Remove old gadgets from your network

New IoT gadgets are entering the market every day making it easy for people to forget about their old devices. Bear in mind that your old IoT gadgets may still have old and forgotten passwords, security protocols, and a bunch of other security risks to your network.

Each IoT gadget in your network is a possible weak point. The best you can do is to have all your gadgets secured, including old ones. Make sure you disconnect all old devices or devices you no longer use from your network. You may also want to factory reset all your old gadgets.

Final thoughts

You can only achieve topnotch IoT security by securing your network and your devices. Although individual IoT devices may not have sensitive data, they could expose your home network to cybercriminals and opportunists. Older gadgets pose greater security threats and should be removed from the network. We urge you to factory reset your old devices and use a premium VPN on your router.

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