Internet-Enabled Devices are a common gift for the holidays but how can you improve the security of those devices? The Internet of Things makes our lives easier and has many benefits; but we can only reap these benefits if our Internet-enabled devices are secure and trusted. The following are important steps from the Department of Homeland Security | CISA and SANS Security Awareness training that you should consider to make your Internet of Things more secure.
- Connect Only What You Need: The simplest way to secure a device is to not connect it to the Internet. Consider whether continuous connectivity to the Internet is needed. If you don’t need your device to be online, don’t connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
- Know What You Have Connected: Make sure you are aware of what devices you have connected to your home network. Not sure or can’t remember? Turn off your wireless network and see what is no longer working. It may not catch everything but you’ll be surprised at how many devices you forgot.
- Ensure you have up-to-date software: When manufacturers become aware of vulnerabilities in their products, they often issue patches to fix the problem. Patches are software updates that fix a particular issue or vulnerability within your device’s software. Make sure to apply relevant patches as soon as possible to protect your devices.
- Passwords: Some Internet-enabled devices are configured with default passwords to simplify setup. Change the passwords on your devices to a unique, strong passphrase only you know. You will most likely only have to enter them once but consider using a password manager to securely store all of them.
- Always Listening: If a device can take your voice commands it is constantly listening. For example, your Alexa and Google Home devices can record sensitive conversations. Consider that when you determine where to place the devices in your home and review the privacy options.
- Guest Network: Consider putting your Smart Home devices on a separate “Guest” WiFi network rather than the primary WiFi network you use for your computers and mobile devices. This way if any Smart Device is infected, your computers or mobile devices on your main network remain safe.
- Evaluate your security and privacy settings. Most devices offer a variety of features that you can tailor to meet your needs and requirements. Enabling certain features to increase convenience or functionality may leave you more vulnerable to being attacked. It is important to examine the settings and select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk.
Read more at Securing the Internet of Things | CISA and Smart Home Devices | SANS