This year has seen a major shift in the way we work, learn, and socialize online. For the many people working from home, the line between home and the office is not just blurred, it's been obliterated, leading to the need for additional security considerations. Part of that need is a growing abundance of IOT (Internet of Things) devices present on networks today.
Far beyond the usual suspects - desktops, laptops, tablets - now we must contend with devices like smart speakers, wearables, lightbulbs, and even refrigerators connecting to the internet. Thankfully, in Week 2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month we've got plenty of helpful tips to plan and protect!
Take Action Tips
Do your homework
Before you go out and get the coolest new thing, make sure to do your research. Check out user reviews, look for any security alerts or recalls, and make sure you understand what the device can and cannot do.
Change default credentials
Many devices arrive setup with a default username and password. You'll want to replace these with unique passphrases and if possible, enable multi-factor authentication. If you aren’t familiar with MFA, we have a great write-up from last month to checkout - What is MFA?
Put IoT devices on a separate network
Smart devices usually don't require anything beyond basic internet access to function correctly so placing them on a separate network can prevent compromised devices from access primary devices such as laptops or network storage devices.
Configure Privacy/Security Settings
Similar to the default credentials above, the privacy/security settings will often default to the least secure option for ease of use. As soon as you finish installing a new smart device, go through the privacy and security settings to make sure they are in line with comfort level.
Disable Unwanted Features
IoT devices often come with features you may never need or use. By disabling these features not only will you simplify the use of the device, but you may decrease the available attack surface for a security compromise.
Keep software up to date
When a manufacturer issues a software update, you should usually apply the patch ASAP. These updates often include important changes that improve the performance and security of the device.
Position smart devices wisely
With some devices having the ability to listen, like smart speakers, or even record video with a camera, make sure to consider their placement carefully. Do you want them in a child’s room? Or where you have sensitive work or family discussions? Consider designating some areas of your home as off-limits or “disconnected”.
Get educated and stay safe!
There is plenty of great, helpful content available regarding using and protecting your connected network. Check out this video from the NIST for a better understanding on just what IoT is and how we can help secure it.
And of course, keep sharing your knowledge with friends and family, let them know October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and that they can visit staysafeonline.org for even more info!