The internet of things (IoT) is all around us today. This broad term refers to everything from smart home devices to fitness wearables to security systems to smart cities and everything in between. These connected devices link our physical world to a cyber world. They allow businesses to gather data and analyze it in real time, while individuals may use it for locking their front doors or tracking their steps. All of this new technology has brought issues with security. Each device is a potential target for hackers. Our CEO, Francis Dinha, brought up the security concerns of IoT devices in his recent Forbes article.
“If you use a blu-ray player or smart TV to view Netflix or have a gaming console that enables you to play online, you’ve already entered the smart home arena. These popular consumer items are part of what is often called the internet of things because they use online systems to function and connect with the digital world.”
What can you do to secure your IoT devices, whether for your business or for your home?
Dinha offered six steps to take:
In addition to those important security steps, you may also want to do the following with IoT security specifically in mind:
Change the default settings. The Mirai botnet malware brought down major internet sites in October of 2016. How? It took over networked devices using default password settings and employed them as “bots” to launch a DDoS attack on a DNS service provider used by sites such as Github, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Airbnb and many others. A zombie army of IoT devices can cause some pain. Keep your devices from joining by avoiding bad passwords! As soon as you connect a new device, make sure and change the password. When malware is recruiting devices to join its botnet (or zombie army), it searches for devices on a network then tries out common username and password combinations to get in. Don’t let your devices become victims.
Use cloud management. Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others companies now offer IoT management options through IaaS solutions. Businesses with many IoT devices should go this route, giving them the ability to manage everything connected in one location.
Make cyber security one of your top priorities this year. We’ll continue to share more important tips and provide our awesome VPN for you.