We are more connected than ever before. According to ABI Research, there will be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Today, our everyday devices are connected to the world including laptops, mobile phones, fitness trackers, smart televisions, home security systems, thermostats, and refrigerators. Additionally, let us not forget the devices that connect everything else together, such as routers, access points, and modems.
Many people may not consider their connected devices to be a security threat, but they absolutely can be. One of the issues with such devices is that many of them do not come configured with security in mind and connecting an unsecure device to your network is like leaving the back door to your house unlocked as it gives attackers access to your personal information. Manufacturers develop products to be more accessible, more user-friendly, and to make our lives more integrated. However, that also means we are less secure if these devices are not properly configured. Unfortunately, some devices completely lack the option or ability to be configured, making it nearly impossible to secure them. Unsecure devices also give threat actors the means to propagate their attacks onto others by using your insecure devices to attack other networks and devices. Therefore, not only can your unsecure devices present a risk to you, but they can also become a risk to others who can be victims of an attack from your compromised devices.
You should do your research before purchasing a connected device, especially a device that may allow someone access into your home, such as a surveillance camera or home security system. Check the online reviews and look at the company's website to determine if there are warnings about the security of the device and if the company issues updates/patches to fix security concerns.
So, what can you do to enjoy the functionality of your connected devices and remain more secure at the same time?
When you first receive your device, check the default settings and choose the more secure options, such as enabling a password or changing the default password to something only you know. Below is a list of these basic recommendations and some effective ones that may be less obvious choices.
These tips are brought to you in the Commonwealth of Virginia by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency in coordination with: