The Internet of Things (IoT) keeps growing at an exponential rate, completely taking the world by storm. You may already be using some IoT devices, but do you really understand what IoT is? More importantly, are you aware of the potential dangers it poses?
What Exactly Is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is a network of interconnected devices that collect and share data with one another. It’s a network of all the physical objects, embedded with internet connectivity and electronics, that are connected to the internet.
They include smart household appliances, lightbulbs, thermostats, home security systems, alarm clocks, cars, wearables, and any other internet-enabled device.
Their purpose is to make your life easier, increase your efficiency and productivity, and gather important data for a specific purpose.
However, apart from numerous benefits of IoT, this network comes with many potential dangers. This is simply because cybercriminals can hack any device connected to the internet.
What are the Cybersecurity Risks of IoT?
You may have proper protection for your computer, tablet, smartphone, and any other device where you store personal and sensitive information. But how secure are your other IoT devices? Do you think that hackers don’t care about your smart fridge or your smart toaster?
It may seem ridiculous for them to hack those appliances, but they can actually be potential gateways for hackers to get into your IoT network and therefore – into all your systems.
Take a smart toaster, for example. Why would anyone try and hack it? What data could they possibly need from a toaster?
While cybercriminals don’t care how dark you like your bread, they can use your smart toaster to gain access to your entire IoT network. They only need a single unprotected IoT device to connect to the rest of your network and steal your data.
This is just one of the numerous examples of how IoT can become a cybersecurity risk. Any of your IoT devices can become an easy way in for cybercriminals if you don’t take proper security steps.
How Can You Secure Your Home?
Between 2016 and 2017, IoT attacks increased by 600%. According to the 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, IoT malware attacks rose 217% from 2017. The report also revealed that there were 10.52 billion malware attacks in 2018, which set a new record.
This means that it’s high time you protected your IoT devices and effectively secured your home. How can you do it?
Start with your router. It is the easiest gateway for hackers to get in. Since all your devices are connected to the internet via your router, it’s absolutely paramount you protect it.
Change its originally assigned name, because its model can enable potential cybercriminals to hack it. Most importantly, change the default username and password, come up with a strong password that no one would be able to guess.
Next, use a VPN. It will protect all your IoT devices and successfully prevent anyone from gaining unauthorized access.
It will hide the IP addresses of all your devices, and direct all the traffic through an encrypted tunnel. No one will ever see your online activity, or intercept any data that your IoT devices send and receive. Not even your ISP will be able to monitor your activity.
The best way to harness the power of a Virtual Private Network is to install it in your router. That way, all the devices you connect to the internet will always pass through an encrypted data tunnel. You also won’t have to install the service on every device separately. Moreover, you’ll be able to connect an unlimited number of devices to the remote servers. This isn’t an option with any provider since you can only connect to a few devices with your subscription. And installing a VPN on your router is relatively easy – your chosen provider will most likely have a few tutorials to help you.
The Internet of Things certainly makes your life easier, but it also puts your personal and sensitive information at risk. Therefore, apply these tips right away, mitigate potential cybersecurity risks, and keep your home completely secure.