As the Internet of Things is entering our everyday lives, it is not unusual to see thermostats, baby monitors, home appliances, fitness trackers, and even medical implants becoming a part of it. However, a lot of these devices were not developed with the proper security principles in mind, and are thus likely to sustain a data security breach.
Last month, over 100,000 compromised IoT devices were used to temporarily bring some of the biggest websites to their knees, including Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, Spotify, and PayPal.
A compromised IoT device can be used for all sorts of malicious purposes, with knocking a website offline arguably being one of the mildest forms of damage. Imagine what would happen if a group of hackers decided to disable a car, raise a thermostat’s temperature, or even play with someone’s heart monitor.
All of this makes thinking about device security quite essential, and any device that has the capacity of sending information can be breached. This ,makes it important that the network it connects to is as secure as possible, and the same goes for its software.
You should never leave the default passwords on these devices. Always change them as soon as you can. If you can, make them complex and long. The Dyn attack, for example, was made possible because people failed to do exactly that, rendering their devices an easy target for hackers.
If you are worried about a device, contacting the vendor or manufacturer may not always be of help. However, you can sign up to receive public alerts about vulnerabilities online. To do so, visit the US-CERT program’s website.