The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) has increased sharply in recent years, leading to an industry with a turnover of more than $100 billion annually and an expectation of a sharp increase in the coming years. The number of devices in private homes and companies connected to the IoT has also grown in recent years, bringing new security risks to the field.
The fact that more and more devices are connected to the internet has brought with it a number of challenges. This is because many of these devices have poor security, which provides an entrance for attacks on private networks. For example, 300,000 IoT camcorders were hacked in October 2016 by hackers finding a vulnerability in a particular model from the manufacturer.
These were then used for a targeted attack on several social media, which among other things, led to Twitter’s website being down for almost two hours. To prevent your IoT devices from being attacked, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common risks and how you can enhance the security of your devices.
What risk does IoT entail
The challenge associated with IoT is that the quality of security at different manufacturers is variable. Many have jumped on the IoT trend, but not all have the technology or capacity to offer ongoing updates. In this way, your home network is exposed to different devices having vulnerabilities in their own security.
It has become increasingly popular with remote control of applications for various household appliances, which requires that these are connected to your local network. Some examples of this can be robotic vacuum cleaners, remote control of lights, smart TVs, and baby monitors. The problem occurs when these devices become outdated but still connected to WiFi. For example, when was the last time you updated the software on your vacuum cleaner?
Many people forget to update the software on their IoT devices, which creates potential vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. This way, they can access your private network, or they can access your corporate network using various devices. We have previously seen several examples of this, which is the primary risk associated with more and more devices being connected to IoT. So what can you really do about this? We will take a closer look at this in the next sections.
How to strengthen your security with IoT
For a long time, the mobile phone was one of the most vulnerable points for our privacy, but this was solved with a VPN for smartphones. However, the increased security of phones has led hackers to look for new vulnerabilities, and many have found this in IoT. Therefore, we will take a closer look at some simple measures you can take to ensure your privacy and network.
The number of passwords to remember in everyday life is increasing, which has led many to prefer to use the same password in different accounts. This increases the risk of extensive hacker attacks and should be something to avoid as much as possible. Therefore, we recommend that you use strong, unique passwords on all logins. Instead of trying to memorize all of your passwords, use a password manager to keep track of the various passwords.
This way, you ensure that all accounts have their own password, but you still only need to remember a single password for faster access. Make sure you use a trusted password manager from a reputable developer and avoid storing passwords in your browser.
We have already mentioned this, but outdated software is one of the most significant weaknesses of the IoT. Therefore, you should establish a routine for updating all necessary devices regularly so that everything on the network has the latest security updates.
Manufacturers are required to provide updates to their software to maintain the standard, and many of these updates include important security enhancements. Therefore, make sure that both the vacuum cleaner and the refrigerator have the latest updates, as it will be more difficult for others to sneak into the network.
Install VPN on the router
For hackers to gain access to your network, they depend on finding devices on your network. Therefore, it can be a good security measure to install a VPN on your router for increased security. By installing a VPN on the router instead of individual devices, all connections will be encrypted through the VPN. This will ensure that all outgoing traffic is encrypted, making potential vulnerabilities more difficult to detect. Also, some premium VPN providers offer additional security tools. For example, NordVPN has a feature called Threat Protection, which is capable of detecting any malware and neutralizing it.
This way, it will be significantly more difficult for hackers to detect various devices on your network, providing an extra layer of protection against hacker attacks. However, you should still make sure that all devices are up to date so that you have the best possible security on your network. You should also check if the current router is compatible with a VPN installation.