From automated appliances to smart sensors, the Internet of Things has revolutionized both homes and offices. Even if it’s still relatively new in the world of IT, it’s already presenting business owners with opportunities to streamline operations. However, new technologies always carry risks, and if you’re not careful, hackers can use your IoT devices as a backdoor into your network.
In fact, last year’s distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on cloud provider Dyn showed the devastating consequences of leaving IoT devices unprotected. According to a TechCrunch report, hackers used thousands of smart webcams and security cameras to overwhelm the cloud provider with HTTP requests, causing several highly trafficked websites to go down. While the IoT malware, known as Mirai, is not as prominent today, similar types of malware have been developed to produce the same catastrophic results.
Make sure your company doesn’t fall victim to these attacks by taking the following precautions.
Change your passwords
One of the biggest reasons the Mirai botnet was so successful in compromising IoT devices was due to the fact that many of them were protected with factory default usernames and passwords. If you’ve installed new smart appliances in your business, secure them with hard-to-guess passwords that have a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple devices to keep hackers guessing.
Avoid untrusted hotspots
You may be able to manage your IoT gadgets from your smartphone or tablet, but don’t use public WiFi networks to connect to them. Public hotspots like the ones you see in your local cafe are not password-protected and have little-to-no network protections, leaving your mobile device and your IoT management app vulnerable. If you ever need to change the settings or monitor your IoT devices, always connect to a trustworthy private WiFi router.
Create a network specifically for IoT
Routers let you create multiple networks, keeping critical systems and IoT devices separate from each other. This way, if hackers ever manage to compromise your smart appliances, they won’t be able to access sensitive information.
Turn off UPnP
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) features allow you to discover and connect to other network devices. The problem with this, however, is that hackers can use it to connect to your devices easily, as well. If this feature is available on any of your smart devices, you should disable it completely.
Install firmware updates
Just like more traditional hardware, IoT developers regularly release security patches that address the latest security threats. Get in the habit of checking each device manufacturer’s websites for updates, and install them as soon as they’re available. To speed up the process, use patch management software to automatically distribute updates across all your devices.
Shut down your devices
Unplug your devices when you’re not using them, especially if you have smart microphones, monitors, and video cameras in place. By turning these off, hackers won’t be able to access your audio and video streams. It may not be the most convenient strategy, but it is by far the simplest way to keep IoT hackers at bay.
The most important thing to remember about IoT is that you should treat it like you would any computer in the system. By following best practices early, you reduce the chances of attack.
For more tips on protecting your devices, visit www.intelligis.com. We provide well-rounded support and a multi-layered cybersecurity system to keep your business safe.