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How to protect your IoT devices
 

People these days stay connected to internet by some means or other in their offices and homes. But, as we grow more and more dependent on technology, we are becoming more prone to cyber attacks. Yes, every electronic device we use in connection with internet (IoT devices) can be a possible threat without us even knowing it. Forget Computers and Smartphones, even the WiFi, router, refrigerator and/or webcams etc. used in our offices and homes can be hacked and used to harm us. This may sound incredible but it’s true in present day scenario and is evident from a recent incident with a Hampshire based company which monitors and routes internet traffic.

 

This company got hit with a major DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, shutting down a large portion of the internet. The attack was originated by what we know as botnet, which used millions of enslaved devices to flood the concerned company’s servers with fake messages/requests seeking information. This in turn knocked the company offline. It was the first such attack on and using devices connected over internet and this made the experts more concerned about the security of internet-connected devices.

 

The problem with the current trend of connecting everything to internet so that all can be app-controlled is, security. If you listen to the experts, security of most of these devices is terrible and that’s really a matter of concern as there are approximately 6.4 billion internet-connected devices used all over the world these days (Gartner). Well we cannot predict and restrict such events beforehand, but we can always take precautions.

 

Protect your device to protect your home.

First, Safeguard your Routers:

One of the most vital things is to reset the default password of your regular or WiFi router. Second, do not let the routers to be managed over the internet, turn of this feature. Many experts suggest to have a new router if your old one is older than 5 years. Ensure that you have enabled a strong form of WiFi encryption. In this scenario if we consider Bluetooth and such wireless devices, they are relatively more secure as they are capable of only interacting with other devices over a comparatively shorter range.

 

Password protection keeps most botnets out but..

Yes, there are many IoT devices that do not allow/give easy way for modifications. How to deal with these then! Well, we can just go for using branded high quality devices. Because big players invest more into quality and security as, they have their long built reputation at stake.

 

Sometimes just cutting it off from internet is good!

As about door cameras, pool heaters, home alarm systems, thermostats, baby monitoring systems etc. many of such devices operate on cloud connectivity and which is good as they do not possess much of a threat. Yet again, higher the quality of the device we use lower is the security risk. But it’s also true that not always we can figure out the quality of security of a device before or even after purchase. Only thing we can do is a serious thinking over the necessity of connecting something over internet.

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