The discussion needs to be prefaced with the fact that protecting IoT devices is no more difficult than any user device. Your smart fridge and your PC use all of the same protocols. The cybersecurity risks of IoT devices don’t come from the software but from our own focus as users.
Because it is very rare to store your sensitive data in your garage door activator or access banking information through your Roomba, we usually don’t think about these things as problematic.
But, these systems are all connected. If a hacker breaks through any of the IoT devices, they will also gain access to your computer and smartphones that do have a lot of sensitive information stored on them.
There are three serious risks when it comes to IoT devices:
- Compromising the system
- Internal malfunction
- Bringing in viruses
And the last one is the most common way how you can make a problem for yourself. Usually, with your phone, you will collect something by connecting to a public WiFi or something similarly unprotected and bring that to your home environment.
Thankfully, it is relatively easy to protect everything. Premium VPN providers like Le VPN offer not only protection for multiple devices but whole routers that can connect your entire home to a VPN. Then, if you keep your devices updated and keep yourself off the target of hackers, you will be in the clear.
More Stuff Means More Cybersecurity Risks of IoT Devices
The more stuff you have that is connected to the internet, the bigger your problems will become. While we are a long way off that episode of Love, Death & Robots where a robot cleaner will be out to get you, a compromised system can still ruin your life.
Some devices, like your TV, can also hold accounts for services like Netflix or Hulu, and inside that batch of information, there is also your email and some of your banking information.
Not to mention that the number of these devices, as well as their processing capability, will only grow as time passes. And the solution is not to call for our universe equivalent of a Butlerian Jihad, but rather to take more care.
How to Protect Yourself?
Hacking IoT devices is not becoming common because of some ingrained deficiencies in those devices. Due to the interface, it is actually harder to crack codes in your printer than on your smartphone. But, that same lack of easy interface is the reason why so many people leave their devices unprotected.
There are two approaches to avoid this. You can either use tools that protect your entire system regardless of the parts inside it or protect every device individually. And, if there is a tendency to move your devices between systems, like carrying your laptop or smartwatch outside of the house, it is always best to do both at the same time.
Safe Router Connections
While not a be-all solution, having a VPN router is a great way to add a layer of protection to your entire home, regardless of the number of devices you have. And with such a device, even if you introduce new devices, they will have the same protection.
Additionally, if you are having guests over and they are connecting to your router, you will be able to protect them and their devices as well.
The only real issue here is that you can still compromise your system internally. Having a VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your browsing, but that isn’t important if all of the addresses used are internal and sending information outwards.
Ad Hoc Cybersecurity Security
The other way to reduce the cybersecurity risks of IoT devices is to give special care to each device individually. Make a list of all of your smart devices and go through the updates and troubleshoots for each one.
This solution may be time-consuming, but in the end, you will have a much healthier system overall.
Also, you might want to have a main device internally through which all of the other devices will connect. Even without a router, you can have a dedicated computer that will have all of the firewalls, VPN connections, kill-switches, and anti-virus programs and connect your smart devices to that main hub.
Best to Keep Some Stuff Offline
There is no perfect system. For every person who is trying to make a perfect tool and a perfect system, there are two who are trying to break it. One is trying to hack your device for personal gain, the other simply for fun.
That is why you should always try to keep the most damaging stuff offline. High-risk business projects, plans, blueprints, as well as personal images, videos, and similar media can become a problem if they get into the wrong hands.
Buy a USB stick and keep it somewhere disconnected when not in use. That way, even if something is compromised, you will have plenty of time to resolve the problem before the hackers get to your data.
The cybersecurity risks of IoT devices should not prevent you from going online freely or from getting more smart devices. They are, after all, the way of the future. But, some extra care wouldn’t be a bad thing, just in case.
Good tools and premium VPN providers like Le VPN can do the brunt of the work and hide you from attacks. But, you should still make sure to maintain and protect all of the devices individually properly. And, it is a good idea to keep a low profile when going online.
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