Staying Safe on the “Internet of Things”
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a term you will probably be hearing more and more about as our cloud-based technologies develop. IoT includes smart devices with the ability to transfer data over a network without the help of humans or computers. The “thing” in question could be a person with a heart monitor implant, a smart car that connects to the internet, or a baby monitor that alerts your phone via Wi-Fi when your baby wakes up. Research from IDC predicts that the IoT will grow to encompass 212 billion devices by 2020 (source; The Bottom Line, 2015), and although this marks a huge technological advancement, it also means we have to become much smarter about how we protect ourselves and manage our devices.
Richard Morochove, president of Morochove & Associates Inc., believes that the rise of the IoT presents many security loopholes for the common “smart” device user. For example, one weakness in smartphone-controlled garage door openers is that they could let others know when your garage doors open and close. He suspects that this could be enough to let criminals know when you are and are not home, and present them with the perfect opportunity to break in. Unless we get security-savvy quickly, this could be a real possibility.
So, how do we avoid issues like this?
For Smartphones and Computers:
1. Install an anti-virus application
- Execulink offers an AVG anti-virus application for computers. To view the pricing options, click here.
- AVG also has an app to protect your Android smartphone. Search “AVG Anti-Virus” in Google Play to install it!
1. Create multiple Wi-Fi networks on the same router and give them different names and passwords. Use this capability to segregate your devices
- Attach your IoT devices to one network, and your computers and smartphones to another network
- This way, if a hacker cracks the password to your IoT Wi-Fi network, they won’t have access to your personal computers or phones
2. Use a long Wi-Fi password that is not easily guessable. You should choose a password with both lowercase and uppercase letters as well as at least one number
3. Always change any device’s default username and password, as these credentials are what a hacker will try first
4. Keep your firmware updated on your devices, as firmware updates often fix security issues
The internet is a delightful place full of endless resources, as long as we take the steps to keep ourselves educated and safe. Make security your top priority!
Karen Chalmers, Marketing & Public Relations Manager
With 2 decades in the film, design, and marketing industries, I love all things creative – especially a beautiful, well-crafted font. I’m a classic triple threat, complete with talents in acting, singing, and sewing.