Keeping Smart Devices Safe

  • Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We are deep into the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). There are new interconnected devices on the market daily. We can not only find security cameras, refrigerators and thermostats, but now there are appliances and devices that we didn’t even know we needed to make our lives easier, or more fun, just by controlling it from an app on our smart phones or voice activated assistant.

Here are some of the latest, and weirdest, IoT devices to hit the market:

  • WiFi Smart Plugs and power strips: Turn any device you plug into it into a smart home device.
  • Smart locks: Couple your home security system with a door locking system that you can control remotely.
  • Outdoor BBQ grills: These grills can prevent flare ups and uneven cooking temperatures and alert you when the pellets are low.
  • Toilet paper robot will deliver a fresh roll to you.
  • Brain training headband to help you get better sleep.

There are important considerations when connecting smart devices to your home network or through an app.

  • How long can you expect the manufacturer to support the device and update the software?
  • Does each device require a separate app for control or can you centralize all of your devices through the use of one device or app?
  • Are you able to change default configurations such as a naming convention and password in order to enable basic security controls?
  • What information is collected and shared?

Keep in mind the manufacturers don’t always build in the best security measures in IoT devices. It is largely up to the consumer to protect themselves.

  • Change default configurations and passwords.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
  • Limit access to the device to only the components it needs to function.
  • Keep the app and software up to date and patched.
  • Delete unused or obsolete apps and software.
  • Disable unused features.

This blog focuses on the home user. In an organization with many interconnected devices, there is a vast undertaking of security that includes encryption, testing, tracking and management, and more. These are all important components of a secure IoT environment, but many times the consumer is not equipped to deal with these types of configurations and therefore must be vigilant in securing the home in the best and most basic way possible. Knowing what information is exchanged and limiting access to components within a home network can assist the general user in securing their home.