The Internet of Things is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects.

These devices communicate and interact with other devices, via the Internet, and can be remotely monitored and controlled.

Examples of devices include home appliances and security systems, wearables, cars and medical devices. These devices contain sensors that communicate with other devices which then trigger additional actions, e.g. controlling energy use in your home or notifying your exercise habits.

While this technology provides convenience, it also forces users to share more information. The security of this information is not without risk.

What Are the Risks?

Given the scale of connected devices, the consequence of an attack or data breach can be significant. Using the connectivity of the internet and a delivery mechanism such as a botnet, attackers could target a certain device type such as a home security system, resulting in mass outages. The theft of personal information such as health data can also be harmful to your privacy.

Securing Internet-Enabled Devices

The benefits of using internet connected devices is already well known, however this needs to be balanced with security and trust.

As consumers and organisations place a higher reliance on security and privacy of confidential data, the demand for device manufacturers to introduce new security features will increase.

Below are some basic guidelines you can follow to make your Internet of Things more secure.

Security settings. Review and limit the enabled features to only what you require. 

If you update your software or become aware of a change, reevaluate your settings to make sure they are still appropriate.

Patch your software. Manufacturers will periodically update their software to address vulnerabilities in their products. Apply relevant updates and patches as soon as possible to protect your devices.

Connectivity. When your device connects to the Internet, it’s connected to other devices, at which time attackers can access to your device. You may wish to only connect to the internet when required.

Passwords. Many devices are sold pre-configured with login credentials which are widely known.  You should change passwords wherever possible.  Choose passwords that are strong and difficult to break.