5 simple tips to secure IoT devices in today's world

Securing Your IoT Devices: Useful Tips

IoT is becoming more and more of a household staple. It makes sense, given how many of its applications can make your day-to-day life that much easier.

Unfortunately, however, IoT has about as many exciting applications as it has cybersecurity flaws. And given that as many as 30 billion connected devices will likely be in use in 2020, each security crack can lead to disaster.

Luckily, you can do your part to reduce the odds of your smart devices getting hacked. There are straightforward, practical steps that you can take to bolster your IoT network’s safety.

Use Powerful Passwords

The power of the password is often underappreciated: the right one can stand in the way of your data and malicious actors. For that reason, your passwords need to be as strong as possible.

Here are a few pointers that will make them exactly that:

  1. Don’t only use letters: numerals and characters such as % or & make the password less predictable.
  2. Make it long: a longer password is more difficult to crack.
  3. Include more than one word: a dictionary attack makes short work of single-word passwords, so turn them into compounds of some sort.
  4. Avoid referencing your personal information in the password: this applies to names, addresses, anything that could be directly associated with you.
  5. Don’t be predictable: “1234” is as useful a password as tissue paper is for armour.

A vital tip to keep in mind is to make different passwords for each device. That way, should anyone of them become compromised, the other ones will remain safe for the time being. 

You’ll also want to change the default password that comes with a given device. Not only could it be easier to penetrate, but it might also give away sensitive information, such as the device’s model.

Regularly Update Your Software

Update prompts may be annoying, but they’re far better than a cyber attack. These updates typically come with patches that fix known security vulnerabilities. If you don’t update your software, you keep that vulnerability, which puts you in a compromised position. To fix this, try to routinely update your devices, either by way of automation or manual checkup every few months.

Create a Guest Network

Most Wi-Fi routers let you create more than one network. This comes in handy if you need separate networks with different settings (some might want their children to be hooked on a network with parental controls, for instance).

For the issue at hand, though, a guest network could be useful for keeping your IoT disconnected from the one that others might use. You can take advantage of this and store your device data on a tightly guarded network while letting visitors enjoy another one.

Enable Two-Step Authentication

Two-step authentication is a simple, yet handy way to add another layer of security to your devices. It only requires that you input a code sent to your phone or email, but it can do wonders to keep you safe. Not every device will be compatible with this form of authentication, but it’s wise to enforce it wherever you can.

Implement Encryption

Encrypting your data goes a long way to ensure that hackers can’t reach your sensitive data. To that end, do what you can to weave encryption methods into your devices. WPA2, for example, is great for routers.