Everything connected, everything exposed?

Smart devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly connecting homes, businesses and cities to the internet like never before. On a personal level, this can include controlling your home’s entertainment, lighting, climate and security systems via the internet, even from a remote location.

While this technology may make life more convenient, it can introduce cybersecurity risks into your home as well. Indeed, many of these products—which also include fitness trackers, virtual assistants, coffee makers, baby monitors, printers, headphones, drones and tablets—are not necessarily built with security in mind, and can potentially open your home network to cybercriminals and reveal your information without your knowledge.

To help you better protect yourself and your family, here are seven best practices you can implement to further prevent your smart devices from being compromised by malware or other cybercrime:

  • 1. Only purchase devices from companies with a strong reputation for support, security features and updates.
  • 2. Create strong and unique passwords for all devices and wireless networks. If your smart device comes with a default password, change it as soon as possible to make it more secure.
  • 3. During setup, consider registering devices with an email address that does not include your name or personal identifying information.
  • 4. Be aware of the kind of data your device collects, and how that data is used and shared with other parties; turn off unnecessary data-sharing functionality.
  • 5. Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity whenever possible, especially if your device is not in use, to prevent a hacker from remotely gaining access to your device.
  • 6. Place smart devices, such as smart TVs, security cameras and thermostats, on a wireless guest network separate from your primary network, which you may use to send and communicate sensitive and confidential information.
  • 7. Keep firmware and data protection software up-to-date, including operating systems, antivirus and security patches.

Experts believe that in the future, “anything that can be connected will be connected.” As such, it’s increasingly important to stay aware of how your data can be at risk. Learn more about the IoT and privacy concerns from ZDNet.