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IoT Safety in the Digital Era: Keeping Your Gadgets Safe

gold Apple iPhone smartphone held at the door
Image Source: unsplash.com 

In 2021, there are more internet users than ever before. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to physical devices that internet users connect to the internet and go about their daily needs online. 

All these devices are generating loads and loads of user data. They are pretty user-friendly and convenient, and easy to use to achieve your daily goals online. However, they are also prone to vulnerabilities. We live in a world of smart devices, smart cars, smartphones, smart homes, even smart cities. But can we trust all these smart gadgets? 

While this all sounds great, the problem is that all these excellent devices are hackable, and perpetrators could retrieve access to some highly personal material. Even security systems and cybersecurity software tools aren’t immune to cyber threats lurking on every corner of the internet.

Nowadays, people live in smart homes where almost every house appliance can be controlled remotely or via an app that they can manage from their smartphones. However, what nearly all of them fail to realize is that hackers could hold smart house appliances for ransom. Besides ransomware, there are many other threats. For instance, the live stream of your security camera could be accessed by criminals. No homeowner would like to end up in this type of situation.

So, with all this in mind, let’s see all the things you can do to keep your smart gadgets safe and protected in 2021. 

How to keep your gadgets safe

Since every home has at least one smart gadget or a house appliance connected to the internet, modern homeowners need to learn how to protect themselves from cyberattacks. The following tips are the best practices you can take to make sure your cybersecurity is at the top level. 

Learn the importance of performing risk assessments

Each internet-enabled and internet-connected device is prone to some sort of risk due to its nature. We recommend that you perform a quick risk assessment before you decide to buy a new IoT device. 

You can do it by following these quick and easy steps:

  • Before you buy a device, do some homework on the brand and the device to see what users are saying about both.
  • Check the brand’s reputation and customer reviews to see if their devices have been breached or hacked into before. If the company is known for frequent breaches, avoid them. If the company takes forever to fix detected vulnerabilities, it should also serve as a red flag. 
  • Check how regularly they release all available patches, updates, firmware, etc. Sometimes, the only thing that stands between you and cybercriminals is the latest update.
  • Tap into what users are saying about user-friendliness regarding disabling insecure protocols, changing default credentials, settings, etc.

Pay special attention to the privacy statement

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to buy an internet-enabled device without accepting the terms of the brand’s privacy statement. Of course, most people don’t read these before they sign, but signing before reading may lead to having limited options when problems arise. 

For example, it will be much harder to return the device in case there are security issues. In other cases, the data generated by the IoT device could be gathered and sold for advertising purposes. Thus, pay special attention to the documents you agree to comply with. A respectable company should present all such conditions: it is up to you to read them. 

Create a recovery plan

It would be wise to have a contingency or recovery plan if problems arise with your newly introduced and connected house appliance or device. Before you connect the device to your work or home environment, read the manual carefully to see how to perform a factory reset on the device and prevent it from causing damage. 

It will be much harder to deal with the consequences of the cyberattack than to act before things escalate beyond repair. Most devices have the option to restore them to factory settings in case it becomes infected with ransomware or malware or compromised in any way. Modern brands require customers to contact them to reset their devices, but this only makes recovery more difficult and complicated.

Additional measures of protection

Before you decide to connect a new device to your work or home environment, there are certain measures you should take to ensure maximum security and protection for all of your connected devices and personal data. 

  • Start by using a VPN app to ensure a safe internet connection and traffic. You might already use such apps as they can effectively re-route your traffic to prevent tracking and monitoring of your online activities. It is also an excellent way to fully encrypt your online traffic and add an additional layer of protection to your home security system. 
  • Next, verify that your router is using the proper security protocols. All your internet traffic comes and goes via your router, so make sure it’s not set on the default configuration. Personalize your router security settings to ensure maximum protection. 
  • You can enhance the security of your home network by splitting it. How does this work? Well, you generate separate access points according to their purpose. For instance, all smart gadgets might connect to one network. Even the FBI recommends keeping IoT devices on a dedicated network. You can also create another network away from your primary devices. It might serve guests that come by for a visit. 
  • Finally, if you no longer plan on using a device, head to the company’s website, confirm the deactivation to erase your data from their database, and ensure that no third party can track that device back to you.

Conclusion

While there are many benefits that the internet can offer, there are also many risks associated with the everyday use of the web. However, with a little bit of time, effort, and tech-savvy, you can quickly develop a protective routine that can be very helpful when problems with your cybersecurity arise.

Ransomware is one of those infections that can impact your device to the max. It might lock your files or prevent access to it. Thus, try to follow the security tips experts highlight. It might be the saving grace you need to stay on the safe side.

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Anurag

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