IoT devices access the internet to accomplish many of their features. For example, the internet allows them to:
- Connect with servers that manage their software
- Connect with other devices and third-party applications
- Sync with other devices and applications
- Install security and feature updates
- Add new features
- Much more
Devices with access to the internet have become a target for security threats. Exploiting the ability to connect to the internet, hackers can access security flaws and connect to those devices. Once connected, they can use this access for nefarious purposes whether it be accessing credentials, changing settings or other uses.
There are two main things to consider to best protect yourself when adding IoT devices to your home. These are:
- Purchasing IoT devices from a reputable company that has been around for some time and in all likelihood will remain for many years to come.
- Updating the firmware on the device as soon as you install it, and keeping it up-to-date in the future.
The second item is critical because keeping the software up-to-date reduces security risks. It is important to update the software if at all possible once you get it as there are likely already updates. Updating a device can usually be accomplished in 5 - 10 minutes and is well worth the time to reduce the security risk. Also, additional features are often included in updates making them well worth the time. Lastly, remember to update these devices on a regular basis so any new security risks discovered are also patched.
There are many different types of IoT devices, all of which perform differently, update differently, and integrate into our lives differently. The important thing to note is that they should all have a settings menu somewhere. For smart televisions and devices that connect to televisions, there is often a button on the remote or in the software interface. Other devices use applications that control settings. Whatever the device type, you will almost always find an update feature within the settings menu.
IoT devices are becoming more and more common and will not be going away any time soon. Even if you do not utilize their features, you can be introducing their security risks when you purchase a device with internet capability. It is important to understand the risks a device presents and reduce the risk as much as possible. Purchasing from a reputable brand and keeping the device up-to-date will help reduce your risk.
As always, more features means increased risk exposure. Knowing how to be proactive and best protect yourself is key!