Christmas is the time of giving, and it’s very likely some of you received new tech toys, including IoT devices. After all, they are frequently used on a day-to-day basis and have become an essential part of many people’s daily lives.
However, one thing we must keep in mind when using IoT devices is "security". The more gadgets we use, the more we are at risk from cybercriminals who will try to take advantage of IoT users if they’re not careful enough. If you happened to unwrap some IoT gifts this past Christmas, don’t trust them blindly. Let’s have a closer look at some favorite IoT gifts and how you might mitigate the risk of using them:
Risky Home Devices
There’s no doubt that smart devices are making our lives more comfortable, and having an increasingly automated home is a trend that isn’t likely to go away. However, some of these devices, like your smart coffee maker or smart speakers, can be hacked. It’s great to have your coffee ready for when you awake, but your intelligent coffee maker can be used for heinous purposes — like spying on you. Hackers can use it to gather your info, recruiting it into a botnet to launch attacks on various businesses, or hold it to ransom.
Similarly, you would not think that your child’s toys could pose a problem, but they can. Anything that connects to the Internet could provide a way in for the hacker, who can then take control of the device. Even if they can’t steal any valuable information through you, they can still use the gadget to carry out DDoS attacks. IoT devices are inherently vulnerable, so it’s a good idea to take steps to protect yourself.
This risk exists but the benefits could be as well great, that does not mean you should stop using smart devices altogether, only that you’ll be reducing the risks if you don’t trust them blindly. Use smart devices responsibly. Ensure that they only have the access and the permissions they need and keep them securely password-protected. Irregular patching may leave your devices vulnerable to the latest cybersecurity threats. Don’t neglect the updates - you must get rid of the flaws that cybercriminals may exploit.
Make sure you evaluate which features of the device you need as well, so you’d be able to turn off those you won’t be using. The more features it has, the more likely it is to become a target as it provides more windows for a potential attack. Unfortunately, most devices have all of their features active and enabled out of the box, so you’ll have to spend some time tinkering with this.
Trust But Verify
Being able to play with a new tech toy is very satisfying, and you naturally were tempted to get a device or two given to you during the holidays or birthdays, etc. However, make sure you take the necessary precautions that will help you keep them secure. We still have a long way to go before we can trust that our IoT devices are secure, by creating a system through which all IoT devices can be made to ensure it. It’s good to stay aware of this so you would not turn a blind eye to IoT devices vulnerabilities and get yourself in danger of cyber attacks.