Smart devices, which collectively make up the Internet of Things have been found several times to lack the recommended mechanisms that implement security and safeguard user’s privacy. It’s even worse since most consumers don’t know what they are dealing with when it comes to smart technology. In a survey conducted in 2018, more than 50% of smart tech consumers are unconcerned about privacy issues posed by smart devices.
Additionally, most manufacturers are also unconcerned about security and privacy issues as they rush for profit. Most consumers also rush for devices that fit their budget without considering other factors such as security and privacy.
- Botnets menace
Smart devices perform some task-oriented processing, and some connect to the internet. And anything with a processor can be hacked while anything that connects to the internet can be compromised. This puts smart devices in a vulnerable spot since most of them lack proper security mechanisms. With the rise of sophisticated malware, cybercriminals are making a large network of botnets from powerful internet of things. Botnets can be used maliciously to propagate DDoS attacks and other malicious activities such as crypto-jacking.
The lack of recommended security levels has made IoTs a primary target for malicious actors than other internet devices. And they make good candidates for collecting data, spying and launching attacks; even your smart coffee maker can be used to brew an attack.
- The interconnection of data
Smart devices are connected with other smart devices and other devices in the network in various forms. For instance, one smart device can be used to control how other smart devices work. This means it has access to the other smart device’s data. The other smart devices may also have access to other devices’ data. At times this data might be sensitive and cybercriminals shouldn’t get hold of it.
Smart devices also connect to other devices such as your phone through Apps. Although they can operate without apps, these apps enable us to get maximum and efficient functionality from the devices. On the dark side, these apps are also as vulnerable as the devices. Recent research revealed that 31% of top selling smart devices lack data encryptions. For some, 19% had an encryption which was easy to break through reverse engineering. This means that cybercriminals can easily hack and gain access to the majority of the Internet of things and wreak havoc in ways they choose.
How to stay safe
As a consumer, you are not entirely powerless in making sure that your IoTs are protected. You should ensure that any smart device you own is secure enough whether it has access to the internet or not. Here are some ways in which you can ensure your smart devices are secure and your data is not compromised;
- Configure them properly
This involves changing the default password to something strong and unique. You can also set proper security configuration to smart devices that provide such an option. Default passwords are easy to break, and most of them can be found online.
- Keep them up to date
Smart devices use some firmware to function properly. Although most of them don’t offer updates, update those that do. Software updates provide fixes to vulnerabilities, and they greatly reduce the chances of being hacked.
- Restrict access to your personal data
Besides smart devices, your home network is made up of other devices that contain your sensitive data such as your phone, your computer, and drives connected to your router for easy access. As a good security practice, some devices don’t need access to this sensitive data, and you should make a separate network for them. A separate properly configured network ensures your data is safe if your smart devices are hacked. In case of apps, give permission access cautiously; a smart device app doesn’t need to have access to your financial information.
Use a VPN – IPBurger VPN
A VPN is a great deal and the ultimate protector of your security and privacy when you connect to the internet. A VPN uses very strong encryptions which are hard to break and hence your internet traffic won’t be accessible by prying eyes such as cybercriminals. Since most smart devices don’t support VPN installations, use IPBurger VPN for the router and protect all your smart devices at once.