7 Security Tips to Keep IoT Devices from Leaving Your Network Vulnerable

Cybersecurity looks quite different than it did only 15 years ago. Today’s businesses incorporate both office and remote workers. Smart IoT devices have also become a major fixture in company workflows.

Business IT security means more than protecting computers and Wi-Fi. It now includes the need to protect multiple IoT devices as well, which can be onsite or offsite.

More than 80% of manufacturers use IoT devices to reduce costs and improve processes. 80% of retailers also say using IoT is important for customer experience.

You can find at least one voice assistant, IP security camera, or wireless printer in about any office. But often IoT isn’t as secure as it should be.

Things You Need to Do for Smart Device Security

IoT devices are a “low hanging fruit” for many cyber criminals. This is because they’re often less secure by nature than computers or mobile devices. 

According to the 2020 Unit 42 IoT Threat Report:

  • 92% of all IoT device traffic isn’t encrypted
  • 57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to either medium or high-severity attacks
  • 30% of all network-connected endpoints are IoT devices

The use of IoT technology powered by cloud solutions isn’t going anywhere. By all accounts, it’s increasing. This makes it important to adopt smart IoT security practices to keep your network safe.

1. Immediately Change Username/Password Defaults

By some reports, IoT devices get attacked within 5 minutes of connection to the internet. Hackers have a list of device manufacturer default usernames and passwords. They use that to automate hacking attempts.

One of the first things you should do before anything else is to change the default login to an IoT device. Doing this during setup helps keep hackers from getting an easy entry into your network.

2. Use a Strong Device Password

Just as you should with any other password, use a strong password with IoT device logins. This means a password that is:

  • At least 10 characters long
  • A combination of letters, symbols, numbers,
  • A combination of upper-case and lower-case letters
  • A password that isn’t reused somewhere else

3. Don’t Name Devices for Brand or Location

While you may think it’s logical to name an IoT device “1224 Main Street Logitech Security Camera Front Door,” it’s not. You’re giving a hacker too much information that can make your device a prime target.

A device name on a network identifies that connected device. You want to stay away from things that make it easier for a hacker to identify and breach an IoT device.

When naming devices use these tips:

  • Don’t use a brand name or model
  • Don’t give away the location of the device
  • Don’t use any personally identifiable information (address, business name)

4. Disable Universal Plug and Play

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on IoT devices make the device easier to discover. Unfortunately, hackers often exploit UPnP to access smart devices.

It’s a good idea to disable the UPnP feature to remove this known vulnerability.

5. Put IoT Devices on a Separate Wireless Network

A big danger with IoT devices is that they’re easier to hack, so they’re often used as gateways. Hackers get into an IoT device and then discover other devices on the network. These can be computers, servers, laptops, etc.

You can put up a barrier between sensitive devices and your IoT devices by using a guest network. First, set up a guest network on your Wi-Fi router. Then put all the IoT devices on the guest network, and all other devices on your existing network.

This separation prevents the ability to get into a sensitive device from a hacked IoT device.

6. Keep IoT Devices Updated

Businesses will often set up an IoT device and never go back to the admin panel. This causes them to miss important device updates and security patches.

Computers tend to pop up alerts indicating an update, but that’s not always the case with an IoT device. You may need to go into the administrative controls regularly to check for an update.

In 2019, 60% of data breaches happened from hackers exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities. 

7. Stay with Reputable Brands

While you may get a bargain on an off-brand IoT device, you could also be looking at security problems. When choosing IoT equipment, stick with reputable brands. They will be more likely to have better standards in place.

Reputable brands will also include better warranties than budget IoT devices. Another consideration is the cloud security they have protecting your data. This is a place where you don’t want to use an unknown device provider.

Does Your Cybersecurity Strategy Protect IoT Devices?

Don’t let IoT devices leave a big vulnerability in your cybersecurity strategy. ZZ Servers can help you set up and protect your smart devices properly.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 800-796-3574 or reach out online.

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