Over the past two months we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing an international panel of cyber security experts for our podcast on IoT threats. Ethical hackers, security vendors, PhD students and professors shared their thoughts on the promises of IoT as well as the challenges of an expanding surface attack. At the end of each interview, we asked the interviewees to provide cyber hygiene heuristics that the average smart home user can implement. These practices won’t make you immune against cyber threats if the NSA or FSB want to hack your computer though –they will overcome all these simple procedures to attack you, but they will mitigate attacks by less skilled actors. What follows is a summary of the top four answers, we hope you enjoy the tips and also implement them!

 

Research: Is the device manufacturer a reliable company? Do they take security seriously? Can the device be found via services like Shodan?
Avoid connecting insecure devices into your network, and always ask yourself: what would be the worst-case scenario if this device gets hacked? And act accordingly.

Segment: If a smart thing in your network is compromised, an attacker can access your entire network and cause harm; avoid this by connecting your IoT devices to a different network (vLAN) than the rest of the computers. This may require some extra hard work if you do not have the Netonomy agent installed, or a security-focused router, but it is not impossible to do and this DIY guide can help.

Password: This should be obvious, yet default passwords are the leading cause of hacked IoT devices, because default credentials are basically publicly available information. So if you haven’t yet changed some default credentials, reset your device and immediately proceed to create a strong and original password.

Update: Pretty self-explanatory. Check periodically if any of your connected devices have a firmware update or security patch release, failure to do so will leave you exposed to known vulnerabilities which can be exploited by malicious actors.

Beyond these basic cyber hygiene practices, it becomes really hard for consumers without technical knowledge to do much more, which is kind of scary. Fortunately, Netonomy’s solution is being implemented across different routers and ISPs to seamlessly bring security and control to home networks, which is the best hope we have to deal with IoT cyber threats today.

 

Tune in every Wednesday for more cyber hygiene tips you can implement in your network!