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We’re living in an era when everything connects to the internet, from your fridge to your car.
Welcome to the so-called “Internet of Things,” meaning the network of devices that aren’t computers but are still connected to the web. Your business might use IoT devices for inventory management, teleconferencing, or security. You might be on the IoT and not even realize it – if you use a smart thermostat (like Nest) or a smart speaker (like Amazon Alexa), you’re plugged into the Internet of Things.
But with every new connection to the internet comes new concerns about security. The truth is that every device linked to your Wi-Fi is another potential entry point for cybercriminals. Don’t fret! With these tips, you can DIY your own IoT ecosystem safety!
Do Your Homework
Ditch Default Passwords
Say goodbye to “admin,” “123456,” and “guest”. Create strong and special passwords for all accounts. Each password should be at least 15 characters long and a blend of numbers, letters, and symbols. Don’t reuse passwords. Give your protection an extra boost by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) – the superhero of online account security!
Party on the Guest Network
Guest Wi-Fi networks aren’t just for guests! Put your IoT devices on a guest network. This way, if one gets hacked, it won’t open the door to your primary devices. Segmenting the network is a great idea. If it doesn’t need to access to production networks, keep it separated!
Lockdown Privacy and Security
Don’t get outsmarted – take charge the moment your smart device enters the scene. Configure its settings to your liking, disabling any features you don’t need. Do you want your smart dishwasher posting to LinkedIn that you use the heated dry cycle? When in doubt, keep functions that seem superfluous disabled. You can always switch them on later.
Watch your back, or rather, your office. Strategize where you put listening or camera-enabled devices. This is the best way to avoid broadcasting your top-secret business discussions to the whole internet.
Love your devices? Show them you care by always installing software updates when the manufacturer rolls them out. These updates improve performance and tighten security. Turn on automatic updates and then you don’t need to check for them! Add these devices to your vulnerability management program as well as your software and hardware inventory, so they get scanned for vulnerabilities.
Have a Vetting Process
No sneaky devices allowed! Have your trusted security professional check and approve all new devices before they join the corporate network. The network should only allow new devices by adding them to an “allow list” or “whitelist” of approved devices. All other devices should be denied access by default – think “deny by default, allow by exception.”