The Thing is! (How to secure the IoT – Internet of Things)
Definition; Thing (noun)
plural noun: things
- an object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to.
synonyms: object, article, item, artefact, commodity;
- an inanimate material object as distinct from a living sentient being.
We are all familiar with the word “thing” it’s our go to word when we can’t think of the actual word!
Over the past few years however the word “Thing” has taken on an association which reflects the significant advances technology has made on the objects, items, devices that surround us.
The phrase Internet of Things is widely accepted a colloquial term for anything which is now connected to the internet!
From Smart TVs, Smart fridges to intelligent bathroom fittings – It seems like everything and anything can be connected. We live in a connected world and it shows no signs of slowing with forecasts suggesting that more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. This has sparked a new term; The Internet of Things (IoT for short).
When a device gets “connected” it is often termed “Smart Device,” but what makes it smart? Surprisingly, it has got nothing to do with intelligence but rather that it can connect to a network via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and be controlled remotely. In theory it sounds it can improve people’s day-to-day lives, and it can, however, where there is good there is bad.
A breach of these IoT devices can not only expose sensitive business & personal data but can literally put human lives at risk as cyber criminals can now get remote control of real-world objects. Consider these scenarios…
- Self-driving cars
- Vital medical equipment in a hospital
- Locks on a Smart Home
- An elevator within a building
These are not things that you want a cybercriminal controlling. That’s why protecting and safeguarding your IoT is the new thing! But How?
Choose Well-Known & Established Brands
It’s not that equipment from larger, well-known companies is inherently more secure. However, they will usually be more responsive to bug reports and do a better job of protecting their customers with regular software updates. While the new innovative device from a new start-up might be exciting, you run the risk of seeing the manufacturer disappear, leaving you vulnerable. For example, Otto was a manufacturer of a $700 smart door lock and after 4 months of operations, it shut down, leaving customers exposed with an internet-connected lock that couldn’t install any further software updates.
Want or a Need?
Before you even purchase an IoT device, ask yourself “Do I want it, or do I need it?” Only buy smart devices that you need. Forget the “cool” factor of having the latest web-enabled light switch and when you can, always be wary and ideally only connect devices that don’t absolutely need it.
Change Default Settings
If you can, change the default credentials (username, password etc) to something more unique that only you will know and remember. This makes it much harder for hackers to get access to any device making it more secure and safe. If you happen to forget the password, it’s not the end of the world. Most devices have a reset switch that can be used to restore it to its factory-default settings.
Run Regular Updates OR Use Automatic Updates
Out of date software can contain bugs and gaps that hackers can exploit to get access to your devices. Therefore, it is important that you run updates regularly or you adopt devices that use automatic software updates. This will ensure that devices are protected as quickly as possible and that they always run the latest and safest software.
Secure Your Home & Work Network
Wi-Fi can be an easy entry-point for hackers because wireless is much more open than wired networks, which means you must be more diligent about security.
It is good practice to password protect your wireless network to increase security and better protect your business from hacker threats. But there’s a lot more to Wi-Fi security than just setting a simple password. Investing time in learning about and applying enhanced security measures can go a long way toward better protecting your network. For more ways to improve your Wi-Fi security, click here
As IoT devices become more mainstream in homes and offices, more hackers will develop more cunning ways to exploit them. Getting into good security habits from get go can protect you from a wide variety of IoT attacks now and in the coming years.
If you need to really beef up your IoT Security, there is help at hand; there are various products and solutions out there that you can use to secure all your IoT devices such as IoT penetration testing and IoT assessment and monitoring solutions. If you would like to find out more about IoT Security solutions or discuss which IoT Security solution would best fit your needs contact us on +353 1 2809410