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Your IoT devices pose a serious security risk – the FBI has some tips on how to secure them

Most of these are basic things you should be doing anyway.

internet of things devices on table
Image: Unsplash

The Internet of Things (or IoT) might sound like an alien term to consumers but, devices described as IoT are more commonplace than many realize. What does the term mean exactly? Think of it as any device that has to connect to the Internet in order to function. Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Ring’s smart doorbells are just a few of more well-known IoT-enabled devices.

And, like clockwork, any device that connects to the Internet is susceptible to hackers. However, there are ways to protect yourself.

Less than a week after the FBI gave advice to those who just scored a deal on a Smart TV, they are now focusing on IoT security.

The post, which is authored by Beth Anne Steele of the FBI’s Portland branch, lists several ways folks who bought that new Nest device can safeguard themselves from hacks through it.

What these all have in common is that they send and receive data. Another concern is that hackers can use that innocent device to do a virtual drive-by of your digital life. Unsecured devices can allow hackers a path into your router, giving the bad guy access to everything else on your home network that you thought was secure.

The FBI says consumers should be wary of security for their IoT devices – Here’s their advice

amazon echo device with alexa sitting on books

Image: Unsplash

Put devices on a separate network

Those who own a smart device, like a smart TV or even a smart fridge, chances are they are on the same Wi-Fi network. Since a person’s smartphone or laptop has considerably more private data than a fridge, there is potential for a hacker to obtain it by going through the Wi-Fi, then through the IoT device and finally into the laptop.

Having a separate network is ideal, but as ZDNet reports, many devices can use micro-segmentation. What this means is the device can create a virtual LAN (VLAN) connection. It operates separately from the main router and can be a good smokescreen for hackers.

Take precaution with passwords

Sure, that password that came with the device might sound look like it’s hard to figure out, but the FBI still says owners should find a way to reset the factory password and create a new one. Steele advises that a “long and unique password” is ideal for home devices.

Look at your phone

apple iphone with ios 13 apps on screen

Image: Unsplash

A lot of IoT devices can be controlled via a smartphone through an app. Since most apps will be running in the background, this is a great entryway for hackers. Adding an extra layer of security by removing certain privileges with the apps can help.

Always be updating

Keeping your IoT devices up-to-date throws a whole bag of wrenches into a hacker’s plans. After all, what better way to throw them off than to have software they haven’t worked with.

Keeping these precautions in mind will make your time owning an IoT device a fun one, rather than a stressful one.

What do you think? Plan on taking these steps to protect your devices and data? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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