Internet of Things (IoT)

Protecting against hacking is no longer a matter of defending one device or machine. In fact, protecting individual devices is changing as there are more internet connected devices, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoTs). Protecting your identity and information is a matter of keeping a secure network of devices you own and other devices on the same shared network that communicate with each other; your phone, laptop, smartwatch, etc.

More and more devices communicate with the internet and each other, meaning there are more attack vectors for a hacker to exploit. Among the recent developments in IoT technology, connected thermostats, networked dishwashers, IP cameras, and digital video recorders that are exposed to the Internet are designed with digital security measures as an afterthought.These IoT devices are frequent targets and can be used in propagating worldwide cyber attacks.

The next time you consider buying a connected device such as a streaming TV and media player (think Google Chromecast or Fire TV Stick), consider contacting your local technical support or visit the campus technology studio to ensure the devices are properly secured.  They will work with you to address things like:

  1. Monitoring connections to devices, to ensure only valid devices are reporting data. In fact it is best to not connect the IOT device directly to the internet by putting it behind a firewall if possible.

  2. Changing the default password. The manufacturer's default passwords for devices are available to the public. Leaving it unchanged is like not having any password at all.

  3. Allowing and use only encrypted connections.

  4. Patching and updating the device to ensure it has the latest updates that address security vulnerabilities, preferably automatically.

  5. Restricting network access and remote management of the device. Better yet, if you don't need it, disable it entirely.

  6. Setting up and using two-factor authentication if the device supports it. This combines something you know, like a password, with something you have, like a fingerprint. Two factor authentication make a bad guy's job much harder.

One last thing that is effective is to just simply unplug your smart devices or disconnect them from your network when not being used.