We should be concerned about IoT devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) sounds like some kind of set of devices which we don’t have to be concerned about, e.g. “it’s only a thermostat (or a bedroom light).” But IoT can also be comprised of smartphones, printers, self-driving cars, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, wearables, door locks, connected LEDs, laptops, pacemakers, hospital devices, assisted living companions, microchipped animals, smart padlocks (possibly accessed by fingerprint), smart toys and other sensors. So systems that were intended to make life easier can also make security and privacy a concern. (Baby monitors and toys listening or talking to your child).

There have been some notable attacks in the wild. For example, Twitter was brought down for two hours when an army of 300,000 security cameras flooded it with traffic.

IoT devices have also been used in business for automation, labor reduction, and gathering information on performance. Airplanes can use sensors to provide information in real-time on engine status and equipment conditions. Disney can measure visitors’ movement, traffic flow and waste management.

Unfortunately, these sensors and devices are also connected to much of the world’s infrastructure. Prior to all this interconnection, no one dreamt that power grids, nuclear power plants, military installations, and city transportation could be exploited. Hackers can use these devices, through their unique IDs, to infect your network and other devices connected to it. The devices can also be exploited by sending instructions to them to change their readings or behavior.

So what are your weak points? What should you do to secure your devices?

-Use strong passwords of at least 12 characters.
-Change the default administrator password for the devices.
-Patch your home or office systems and devices.
-Put your IoT devices on a second router and network, or create a guest network for these devices.
-Also remember that an attack on a single device can result in the network itself being compromised. So every device needs to have the same standard of security.
-Before buying a device, learn about the manufacturer, how long they’ve been in business and complaints and reports they may have had.


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