How to Hack-Proof Your IoT Devices

By: Robert Siciliano  |  April 4, 2016

How many “smart” devices do you have in your house and inside your car? I don’t mean laptops and cell phones, but anything that is connected to the Internet. This could be your thermostat, garage door opener or some components of your house security system. It could also be your vehicle’s navigation system.

The more “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices that you have in your house or car, the more opportunity there is to be the victim of a hacking incident. Maybe your home is baby proofed. But is it hack proofed?

  • Just like your computer and mobile device should always be kept up to date as far as security software, so should every single smart gadget, no matter how seemingly innocuous, like a camera, fitness tracker or milk spoilage alerter. With that said, how can you tell updates are available? Twice a year, check the gadget maker’s website for this information. To help you remember to do this, perhaps do it on the same day you see your dentist for twice a year routine checkups. Just put it in your calendar.
  • Every smart device should have its own unique password—and a strong and long one, too. Please, no Password123.
  • Some advise smart gadgets should be connected to your router’s “guest” network, not the main one.
  • Just because a device can be internet connected doesn’t always mean it has to be. Don’t use Internet connections unless they are necessary for the function of the device. The more you’re on, the more likely you can get hacked.
  • Avoid smart gadgets that rely on having to set up usernames and passwords on a website and are always checking in. And instead, opt for ones that you can control 100 percent from your home. Ones that need the cloud tend to be less secure. Example: You may have a device that helps you correct your posture. It can probably work between you and your mobile. Why sign up to be tracked online. What’s the point?
  • Avoid taking your smart gadget to work with the idea of connecting it there. Once connected at the workplace, it could be a gateway to hackers. Do you want your company to suffer a massive data breach?

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to discussing  identity theft prevention.

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