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Keep Your IoT Cloud Connections Safe Featured

Keep Your IoT Cloud Connections Safe gray Nest thermostat displaying at 63

As the internet of things (IoT) and smart home devices become increasingly popular, the number of security issues and attacks on IoT devices are also on the rise. Over the recent years, there are many incidences involving consumer IoT devices that have seen malicious actors gaining access to home networks by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in devices. According to analysts, IoT devices will be over 20 billion by 2025. That is an awful lot of devices. This means that these devices will be everywhere around us. With this large number of devices, the security incidences will be high. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your IoT connections safe.

  • Be careful of on devices you buy

Although smart devices are helpful, they collect large amounts of personal data. Before purchasing any smart device, learn many things about the device, including what type of data it collects, how the data is stored and protected, and who it is shared with. Also, understand what it will be used for and if it is shared with a third party or parties. In short, do thorough research before buying devices to see the protections you have and possible data breaches.

  • Understand your data and apply protection measures

According to Zscaler, 91.5% of transactional data from IoT devices is plaintext. This means it is easy for hackers to intercept, read and manipulate data and send it back without you even noticing it. As such, you must protect the physical devices that collect, store, and process data and protect data at rest, in transit, or in use across the IoT ecosystem. The parties involved in the value chain must ensure data is safe and cannot be manipulated to avoid the possibility of being hacked. The process involves understanding the data, encrypting it, and tracking and tracing data to protect networks and identify changes.

  • Ensure you have the latest firmware

Firmware updates are an important aspect of the security of any system. For the IoT devices, make sure you have the latest security patches to reduce the chances of attackers breaching the systems successfully. Keep your firmware fully updated by making sure you are aware of new updates and updating it as soon as possible. Updates will fix vulnerabilities as they emerge. Therefore, IoT devices and your home routers need to be regularly updated. Wherever possible, automate updates or set a schedule such as every three months or so.

  • Take a holistic security approach

To secure IoT solutions, companies must have a holistic approach to security which entails the technologies, people, and processes. Begin by considering some key approaches, including end-to-end ecosystem security and aligning the organization to IoT security. The security must be managed from device to end-user service (horizontally) or hardware to applications (vertically). Also, the IoT ecosystem, which is made up of manufacturers, app developers, network service providers, and end-users, must be adequately managed and involved in securing IoT devices.

  • Avoid device defaults

Just like the routers and other devices, do not use a device with its default settings. Hackers know these defaults and easily access your devices if it is not reconfigured with strong security measures. The default settings in IoT devices and networks make you a soft target for malicious individuals. Therefore, change the defaults as soon as you purchase a smart device to reduce the risk.

To sum it up, if you are dealing with sensitive data, you might need to take more stringent measures. Have a look at the IoT devices you are considering, the security protocols they support, and the ease of securing them. One thing that you should keep in mind is that you should never assume that you are safe.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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