Home Security and IoT Devices Risk and How To Protect Your Data
The number of internet-connected devices in homes has been growing. It is expected that by 2025, there will be an approximately 27 billion connected IoT devices. A typical home now has 10.37 devices connected to the internet. Computers and cell phones make up a little over half of those, and the rest are IoT devices.
IoT stands for Internet of Things, which refers to everyday web-enabled objects that can connect and exchange information. IoT devices in a home can be everything from your smart door lock, to lights, and smart fridge. Baby monitors connected to WiFi and Alexa voice assistants are also IoT.
There’s also been another change that has happened over the last couple of years. It has been the increase in companies adopting work-from-home policies. The pandemic caused a major shift where we work in Vancouver, turning the standard office paradigm on its head.
Now, working remotely has become the norm for many companies locally and worldwide. This has put increased scrutiny on the security of all smart devices. They are now sharing a Wi-Fi network with all of the sensitive business and perosonal data.
Here are two alarming statistics that illustrate the issue with IoT security:
- During the first six months of 2021, the number of IoT cyberattacks was up by 135% over the prior year.
- It’s estimated that over 25% of cyberattacks against businesses involve IoT devices
Hackers Use IoT Devices to Get to Computers & Smartphones
Smart devices are a risk to all other devices on the network. They are typically easier to breach. Current IoT devices have a low degree of IT security and weak encryption so, hackers will use them as a gateway into more sensitive devices.
A criminal may not care about the video on your doorbell camera, but they’ll breach that IoT device to see what other devices are on the same network.
The hacker can then use sharing and permissions that are often present on home networks. Through these, they gain access to your work computer or cell phone. These devices hold important data and access to personal details.
Why are IoT devices less secure than computers and smartphones? Here are a few reasons:
· They have low security, weak encryption, and won’t have antivirus
· IoT devices are not always updated regularly by the users
· They have basic interfaces which can hide a breach of the device
· People often don’t change the default device username and password.
· Sharing settings on IoT devices makes them easier to hack
Improve Security by Putting IoT on a Separate Wi-Fi Network
Just about all modern routers will have the ability to set up a second Wi-Fi network, e.g. guest Wi-Fi. This shows up when you connect to Wi-Fi as a separate Wi-Fi that a device can connect to.
Here are Canada Techs; we recommend to all our clients to put all the IoT devices on a separate network to improve security. By doing this, you cut that bridge that hackers use to go from an IoT device to another device on the same network. Such as those that hold sensitive information (workstations and cell phones).
In fact, when you separate those two (IoT devices and sensitive-info devices) a hacker can’t see all devices. If they breach one of your smart devices, they can’t tell you have a computer or smartphone. This is because they’re on the other network.
This is an essential layer of security to use. Whether you have a home office or you use your computer for banking, it can help. All PCs and smartphones usually contain access to online banking or personal information.
Here are the steps to take to separate your IoT devices. (Note, if your not comfortable handling these steps, Canada Techs can help out with your security needs in Vancouver and surrounding area)
· Step 1: Log into your router settings.
· Step 2: Look for an area that allows you to set up a guest network. This will be different for each router, so you may need to access a help guide online.
· Step 3: Set up the guest network according to the router prompts. Make sure to use a strong password.
· Step 4: Edit the password for your existing network. This keeps IoT devices from automatically reconnecting to it.
· Step 5: Connect all IoT devices in your home to the new guest network.
· Step 6: Reconnect your sensitive devices (computers, smartphones) to the preexisting network. Use the new password.
As you add any new devices to your home network, make sure to connect them to the appropriate network. This keeps the layer of security effective.
One more tip: Don’t use descriptive names when naming your Wi-Fi networks. This includes things like “IoT network” or your name, address, or router model name. It’s best to use names that won’t give the hackers valuable information they can use in attacks.
Need Help Upgrading Your Home Cybersecurity in Vancouver?
With so many remote workers, hackers are targeting home networks more than ever. They know your home network can contain sensitive business as well as personal data. Don’t leave yourself open to an attack. Schedule a no-obligation home internet security review with Canada Techs today.