How to Build a Safer Internet of Things


The Internet of Things (IoT) has been touted as many things. But what you haven’t heard is that it could be your worst enemy. Yet all of these incidents have actually occurred, according to news reports. But actually there are a few things you can do to protect your connected gadgets. If you are on a personal computer or mobile device, make sure that any available firewall and antivirus software is activated and up-to-date. Make sure you scan your system regularly to identify and remove any malware or possible intrusions. A computer infected with malware or breached by a hacker can be a launching point for attacks against the IoT equipment in your home, or it may store passwords for IoT products that the hacker can use.

If your apparatus allows you to set user names and passwords, make sure to turn that capability on and also create passwords that are not easy to guess. Don’t use your name, your kids’ or spouse’s names or birthdays; do use unique spellings, number combinations, characters, and symbols, such as ampersands, question marks, or asterisks. I know, you’ve heard this all before, but it bears repeating because too many people still are setting their passwords as “password.”

Finally, watch out for phishing and social engineering. Hackers are very clever when it comes to sending e-mails and messages that ask for user names and passwords. Be very suspicious. If you get a phone call asking for this confidential info, don’t give it. Make sure you hang up and then call the number of the business or organization that the caller had claimed to represent. Don’t use any phone number the caller may provide.

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