The Not-So SmartHomes of Today

Are we trading convenience for Insecurity? As a computer oriented business, we love advancements and innovations in technology, but when the health of our customers is at stake - it is our duty to inform you of the risks.
CALGARY, Alberta - July 6, 2020 - PRLog -- Are SmartHomes Convenient? Indeed. Safe? Not so much.

The (not so) good news, is that a lot of these new devices are targets, ready to be attacked by hackers because - unfortunately for many devices - security has been a design afterthought making them easy targets to be compromised. We have seen a number of high exposure attacks: Not too long ago, a Domain Network Server (DNS) attack used 100,000 smart home infected webcams to create a botnet that brought down major websites (including Twitter, the Guardian, Netflix, Reddit, CNN and many others in Canada, the US and also in Europe).

In the webcam attack, hackers gained access to devices which had not reset the default account names and passwords. In the future, hopefully we will close that door by requiring default account names and passwords to be changed before the device can be used. This example is a low hanging fruit, but there will always be other ways that a hacker can compromise a device. What is needed is a mindset to stay ahead of the potential hacker, detecting a breach, mitigating the impact, and quickly repairing it.

For more in-depth information please read the security section of IoT in Wikipedia.

Here are 8 Tips for a more secure Smart Home
1. Don't connect your devices unless you need to

The first step is to consider what functionality you need from the device. Just because your TV or fridge can connect to the internet, doesn't mean you definitely want it to. Take a good look at the features it offers and learn exactly what internet connectivity brings before you let it connect. In most cases, you don't use the "smart" functionality and can disable it.

2. Create a separate networkok

Many Wi-Fi routers support guest networking so that visitors can connect to your network without gaining access to shared files or your computers at home. This kind of separation also works well for IoT devices that have questionable security.

3. Pick strong and unique passwords for every device

It's very important to pick strong passwords, but you must also make sure that you pick a different password for every device. If a hacker manages to get one of your passwords, they will typically try it with other services and devices and be able to gain access to . Reusing passwords is not a good idea. Use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.

4. Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)

Sadly, UPnP can make routers, printers, cameras and other devices vulnerable to attack. It's designed to make it easier to network devices without configuration by helping them automatically discover each other. The problem is that hackers can also potentially discover them from beyond your local network because of vulnerabilities in the UPnP protocol. Is best to turn UPnP off completely. This can be done directly on your home wifi router.

5. Make sure you have the latest firmware

If you want to make sure you have the latest security patches and reduce the chances of a successful attack, then you need to keep your firmware fully updated. Vulnerabilities and exploits will be fixed as they emerge, so your IoT devices and your router need to be regularly updated. Automate this wherever possible or set a schedule to check for updates every so often.

6. Be wary of cloud services

A lot of IoT devices rely on cloud services, but the requirement for an internet connection in order for something to function can be a real problem. Not only will it not work when the network is down, but it may also be syncing sensitive data or offering another potential route into your home. Make sure you read up on the provider's privacy policy and look for reassurances about encryption and data protection.

7. Keep personal devices out of the workplace

Don't take your personal IoT devices to work. There are lots of potential security concerns for wearables. Every enterprise should have a clear BYOD policy, and it's often a good idea to prohibit personal IoT devices from connecting to the network, or at least limit them to a guest network.

8. Track and assess devices (Tip for our SMB clients)

Businesses need to track everything connected to the network and monitor the flow of traffic. Devices need to be assessed to determine the level of access they should have, to keep them fully patched and up to date, and to protect data end-to-end to preserve its integrity. Unknown devices should flag an alert. Understanding which devices are connected and what they're doing is a prerequisite for proper security.

If you're dealing with sensitive data or you're concerned about privacy, then make sure you have a long hard look at the IoT devices you're considering. What security protocols do they support? Do the providers have a proper privacy policy?

Too complicated? We can help!
Not sure how to disable UPnP, update your routers firmware or better secure your IoT? We can come do this for you right away so you can get a better nights sleep. While we are at it, we can also health optimize your network and computers to make sure you and your machine stay healthy and free of security threats! All this is completed usually in under an hour for only $88 ~ Definitely worth it!



Tech!Espresso Computer Repair Calgary and Edmonton
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