Why Is IoT Security Important For Your Home Network?

Internet of Things, IoT SecurityMarch 17, 2022

The Internet of Things (IoT) contributes significantly to your home’s comfort. Using internet-connected smart devices, you can set your coffee maker to be ready when you wake up and your oven to preheat when you get home. From your smartphone, you can adjust the temperature and air quality, lock the doors, and even monitor the home while you’re gone.

Nonetheless, IoT also implies that your refrigerator, coffee maker, heating system, and automobile all retain personal information. Every Internet of Things device collects data. Therefore, unless you want others to know everything about your life, you must secure each gadget. You’ll need to safeguard your network, but you’ll also need to check the security of each individual device to guarantee there are no weak connections.

There are more than 7 billion IoT devices worldwide, making them an enticing target for fraudsters. If your home is wired, it must be protected, as explained in this article.

Risks To Your IoT Smart Home

There is currently no global organization that defines security standards for IoT devices. Authorities are worried that your refrigerator is electrically safe and energy-efficient, but they haven’t gotten around to addressing whether it adequately protects your privacy.

Because the Internet of Things is expanding so rapidly, there is significant pressure on manufacturers to capitalize on this expansion by releasing as many devices as possible. Some products are rushed to market without appropriate consideration of IoT security concerns. When equipment is replaced by newer goods, manufacturers do not always make significant efforts to provide security patches. This is in sharp contrast to computer hardware and software, for which you would anticipate regular updates to solve security flaws and enhance functionality.

A five-year-old security camera or even a six-month-old smart TV may have a well-known flaw, however, as hackers are always working and new risks are constantly appearing. This implies that even relatively amateur hackers can locate and exploit vulnerabilities on the internet, which they can use to get access to your network.

There have already been multiple instances of hackers controlling webcams, laptop cameras, and baby monitors. However, a cybercriminal may also:

  • Access your heating and lighting systems to determine if you are absent.
  • You can use voice commands to access your passwords and even your bank account using the information you gave with a digital assistant such as Amazon Echo.
  • Infiltrate your network via an IoT device and launch a ransomware assault that renders your IoT-enabled smart home inoperable unless you pay the ransom.
  • Utilize your devices as bots to provide computational power for a DDOS assault, click fraud, password cracking, spamming, or cryptocurrency mining.

The magnitude of botnets can be catastrophic. In 2016, the Mirai botnet hacked into IoT devices and created a swarm of 100,000 compromised IoT devices. Each gadget may have possessed a modest amount of computational capability, but when one hundred thousand are combined, one has access to substantial resources.

Securing IoT Devices and Networks

Start by locking the entrance door, or securing your router. If a hacker gains access to your router, they will manage your network, allowing them to access any device in your home, from the door locks to the computer.

  • Change the router’s name and password. Don’t use default settings. Typically, routers are named for their manufacturer or the network they are connected to; this provides hackers with a significant tip on how to gain access. Also, you should avoid using your own name or address, as they are useful identifiers for hackers attempting to access your network.
  • Use strong passwords consisting of a random combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi while connecting your laptop or mobile device to your IoT network. Numerous coffee shops and hotels have Wi-Fi networks that are quite simple to compromise. Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) such as VPN Secure Connection from Kaspersky. A VPN provides a private, encrypted connection to the internet and prevents eavesdroppers from intercepting your communications.
  • Utilize guest networks. It is a good idea to use a guest network for guests who wish to use your Wi-Fi at home; this prevents them from accessing your primary network or other accounts. You can also connect your IoT devices to a guest network. Even if a hacker hacks one of your devices, they will be relegated to the guest network and will not be able to access your primary Internet connection.
  • Utilize a robust encryption mechanism, such as WPA, for Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • Take special precautions to protect the IoT network’s command and control. Using two-factor authentication using biometrics, a pass card, or a dongle to ensure that a hacker cannot present both required proofs of identification is not a bad idea.

Maintaining Your IoT Devices

Your intelligent home will save you time and energy. As part of your IoT device security strategy, however, you must set aside some time for its proper maintenance.

Every device’s firmware must be kept up to date. When installing devices, it is advisable to bookmark the manufacturer’s website so that you can readily check for firmware and software updates. If you’re fortunate, there will be an email alert or even automatic updates; otherwise, you’ll need to conduct a search.

The Dangers of Smart Speakers

Some IoT devices only connect to your control network. Others are far more intelligent. And the greater their intelligence, the greater the risk.

Therefore, be cautious with your connections. Smart speakers provide a unique security threat. If your security cameras and locks are connected to your voice assistant, for instance, an intruder could just scream, “Okay Google, unlock the doors” to gain access to your home. Consider that Burger King sponsored an advertisement that purposefully triggered Google Home speakers and pushed them to alert their owners about the Whopper Burger if this seems implausible. Eventually, Google disabled the ad.

Although irritating, Burger King’s hack was harmless. However, it exposes a serious vulnerability that might be exploited for nefarious purposes.

In addition, exploits have been uncovered that allow speakers to continue listening after a question has been posed and record conversations for transmission to an eavesdropper. Keeping your security system on a separate network to which your voice assistant does not have access may be prudent. Additionally, you may wish to restrict access to your bank account from the device.

Keep in mind that smart speakers and other devices collect information about you and your activities. It is worthwhile to determine where this data is stored and how it can be used (the service should come with a privacy statement). It is also beneficial to understand how to erase data that should not be maintained.

With Amazon and Google, it is simple to remove data. For Amazon, go to “Settings” in the Alexa app and check “History” to see what’s on file; you can purge specific requests or delete them completely. You can review and delete Google Assistant recordings through your Google Account. It may be a good idea to conduct periodical purges.

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