With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Home devices, our environments are becoming more connected however this comes with the compromise of security. We’ve seen numerous reports about smart devices being hacked, being used in botnets (to attack others) or even to mine cryptocurrency.
So what is the best way to secure your network when using IoT or Smart Home devices?
1. Only use reputatable device manufacturers.
Third party or smaller device manufacturers may not update as frequently and security flaws may remain unpatched for a longer period of time. Cheaper does not mean better.
2. Read the EULA
The EULA will tell you exactly where your data is going, how the data is processed and things like that. Unfortunately EULAs are written in ‘legalese’, however you can search online for the plain speak version.
3. Change the default username and password.
The biggest flaw in security is often that the default username and password are unchanged. This means that an attacker can simply run simple scripts in order to connect to your device and take control.
4. Place the device on an isolated network.
You can firewall any IoT or Smart Home devices by placing them on their own dedicated network. This can be either be done within your router (like a Guest network) or by having a dedicated router providing the separation.
If you use a dedicated router, you also have the opportunity to utilise a VPN connection and further encrypt your IoT and Smart Home devices without impacting the speeds of your overall network.
5. Update firmware as it becomes available.
Updating firmware not only offers additional features and improvements, but often resolves bugs and security flaws.
6. Delete your data regularly.
Reputatable companies will have a way to view and delete your voice commands and other data easily within their interface. This can be done easily by following these steps:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/myx –> Your Devices –> Alexa Privacy –> Delete All Recordings
Google: https://history.google.com/history/ –> Delete Activity By (choose timeframe)
Siri: Quit Safari on your iPhone –> Settings –> Safari –> Clear History
Always remember there is a direct corralation between connectivity and security. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.
Jayson is the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Private Internet Access. With a long history as an engineer with experience working in communications and electronics warfare in the British Army, he has worked on both sides of the proverbial fence. A staunce advocate of open source technology, Jayson is not adverse to hard work to achieve a goal. He enjoys drinking mead, amazing vodka and good conversation about sustainability and beekeeping.