Tips on how to limit the vulnerability of smart devices to make you and your home safer and more secure.
Digital Guardian, a data-loss prevention company, has highlighted the myriad ways the internet of things (IoT) can leave smart homes and the people who live in them vulnerable. Bluetooth-enabled door locks can be hacked open, thermostats can be manipulated, robot vacuums can be turned into mobile spies that send out images and maps of your home, and smart TVs can change the channel to content you’d rather not see.
There are steps you can take to secure your smart devices so that they don’t turn on you.
Reroute: Your router is the gateway to all your devices. If you haven’t already reset your router after the FBI warning about malware a few months back, you should. Then rename it so that its brand and model are not immediately identifiable. Change the default password, if you haven’t already done so. And set up a guest network for those who visit your home so that they don’t have and retain access to your primary one.
Turn on two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication (2FA) isn’t a flawless way to protect yourself, but it’s usually the first and best step you can take. Look for the feature in the manuals for any devices you have, including wearables. Turn off Wi-Fi Protected Setup so that potential hackers have a harder time trying to access your router.
Don’t give anyone a pass(word): IoT devices generally come with a set user name and password. Change both on all your devices to avoid the easiest way for someone to gain control of them.
Correct any defaults: Go into the settings for all IoT devices and review the defaults. Turn off any that are unnecessary or that share more information than you’d like.
Keep up to date: Check for software updates on all your devices to make sure that any known vulnerabilities are patched. Even if you haven’t received a notification about updates, visit the manufacturer’s site and social media to see whether any have been issued.
Check below for the full results of Digital Guardian’s research.