According to IoT statistics, 127 devices are connected to the internet every second.
Companies will invest more than one trillion dollars by 2023. 70% of automobiles
will be connected to the internet. More than 80% of manufacturing and industrial
companies are either planning to use or are already using IoT devices. 90% of
retailers are using or planning to use IoT devices to customize store visits.
There is no denying that the internet of things has transformed businesses and has
now entered our homes. Despite the exponential growth in IoT and smart home
adoption, there are certain challenges that need to be overcome before it can go
mainstream. The security, privacy of IoT devices is a major concern. Lack of
standards and scalability issues along with little to no government support make
matters worse for IoT devices and smart homes.
In this article, you will learn about seven effective tips to safeguard your smart
home and IoT devices.
The first thing you need to do is to set up your router correctly. The router is a
gateway to your smart home. You don’t want it to crumble and break down during
a cyberattack and let hackers in your smart home. Since all the IoT device present
in your smart home connects to the router, it becomes an asset that you must
protect. Start off by changing the router’s default name.
Next, change the password and use a password that is hard to guess. Follow
password best practices when choosing a password for your account. Use a
combination of alphanumeric characters and avoid using dictionary words. You
can also use higher-level encryption to keep your router safe from hacker attacks.
If your router is using an older WEP protocol, then it is time for you to upgrade
and switch to a router that uses WPA2 or WPA3 protocols.
Hackers have advanced tools which they can use to steal or hack your passwords.
Passwords are not the safest option and most of us know that. That is why it is
important to use stronger passwords that are harder to guess. Use different
passwords for all your accounts and apps. This might make it difficult to remember
but you can use a password management tool that can save you from a lot of hassle
while keeping you safe. Even if one of your IoT devices gets hacked, it won’t
impact other devices.
Most routers today give you the option to create a secondary or guest network
which can come in handy. This allows you to create a separate network for IoT
devices, which has nothing to do with your main network. This protects your main
network from IoT-based threats.
By distinguishing your IoT network from the main network, you can also prevent
unwanted access and intrusions in your main network. This means that your smart
home network is only accessible to you and your family members. Even if the
hacker succeeds in compromising your IoT network, your critical data and devices
Ofer Maor, a cybersecurity expert and OWASP Foundation board member uses
this tactic himself. He says, “I use multiple network segments for my home.
One is my work network with the laptops, network-attached storage, and
more. Second is my ‘Home IoT’ network, which holds most of the IoT devices.
This reduces the risk of a data breach or cybersecurity attack — if one of my
IoT devices gets hacked, cybercriminals can use it as a ladder to target other
IoT devices but can never reach my laptop and access sensitive data stored in
Smart devices such as smart speakers and smart TVs have some additional features
that you rarely or never use. You can disable them to minimize the risk of misuse.
For instance, some smart speakers offer you both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
options. You can disable it. Similarly, smart TVs have voice control features and
have an active mic which can easily be hacked and misused by cybercriminals. It is
highly recommended that you turn it off when you are not using it. Try to block as
many entry points as possible so that cybercriminals don’t find an opening to
Let’s say, you buy dedicated server. You will have to configure it first to work
properly and it will not happen automatically. Similarly, there are instances when
you must manually update your router’s firmware and the process does not take
place automatically. If that is the case, you should manually check for firmware
updates. If you find a new version of firmware available, download and install it
immediately. When you update the firmware of your router, you get the latest
security patches that can improve your network protection. Users will also receive
notifications and alerts regarding updates of firmware and if you get one, make
sure to update the firmware as soon as possible.
Most routers come with a built-in firewall but unfortunately, that is not enough to
protect your IoT network from unwanted intruders. The main reason for this is
because these traditional firewalls lack intrusion prevention systems, offer little to
no malware protection and have no content filtering mechanism. An advanced
firewall also known as the next-generation firewall is basically an integrated
network platform that has all these features and offers all the functionality offered
by traditional firewalls.
This means that it is not only capable of detecting but also preventing unwanted
network intrusions and cybersecurity attacks targeting your network. These next-
generation firewalls are expensive but the level of security these firewalls offer
justifies their high price. It is better to spend a little extra money to secure your
devices instead of losing your data which is worth millions of dollars.
As mentioned before, the password is not the most secure authentication method.
Even if you are using it, it is highly recommended that you implement two-factor
authentications. This will enhance your security as it adds an extra layer of
protection. Even if the hacker succeeds in guessing or stealing your passwords,
they might not be able to access your account as there is a second layer of security
protecting your data from getting accessed.
How do you secure your IoT devices and smart home? Let us know in the
comments section below.
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