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  • Zack Davis

Improving Cyber Security In Your Own Home

The technology used in the average American home has changed drastically over the past few decades. It's increased exponentially over the last few years. A typical home now has 10.37 devices connected to the internet. PCs and mobile devices make up a little over half of those and the rest are IoT devices.

IoT stands for Internet of Things. It means any other type of “smart device” that connects online. IoT devices in your home are likely plentiful, including smart baby monitors, Alexa voice assistants, Samsung appliances, and smart speakers are also IoT.

There's also been another change that has happened over the last couple of years. Due to the pandemic, more and more people in the workforce rely on their home technology to work remotely. Because of the increased demand for work-from-home technology, there has been increased scrutiny on the security of all those IoT devices. They are now sharing a Wi-Fi network with business data and devices, some of which may include sensitive information.

Here are two alarming statistics that highlight the possible issues with IoT security:

  • During the first six months of 2021, the number of IoT cyberattacks was up by 135% over the prior year.

  • It’s estimated that over 25% of cyberattacks against businesses involve IoT devices.

Hackers Use IoT Devices as Gateways to your Work Technology

Smart devices frequently used in the home pose a risk to anyone working on the same network. Smart devices usually lack the stricter security and sharing settings that protect a mobile device or computer. This way, hackers can start with your Alexa voice assistant to get onto your home network and then search for other devices also attached to that same network.

The hacker can then use sharing and permissions that are often present on home networks. Through these, they gain access to your work computer or mobile device. These devices hold important data, and access to personal details.

Why are IoT devices less secure than computers and smartphones? Here are a few reasons:

  • They usually won’t have antivirus or anti-malware capabilities

  • Users often don’t update IoT devices regularly

  • They have basic interfaces which can hide a breach of the device

  • People often don’t change the default device username and password.

  • Sharing settings on IoT devices makes them easier to hack

Keep Your Work Secure by Placing IoT Devices on a Separate Network

Almost all modern routers will have the ability to set up a second Wi-Fi network, called a “guest network.” This shows up when you connect to Wi-Fi as a separate Wi-Fi that a device can use to get online. You might notice guest networks yourself when you visit other businesses or homes.

By putting all your IoT devices on a separate network you improve your overall home security. You block that gateway that hackers use to go from an IoT device to another device on the same network. Such as those that hold sensitive information (computers and mobile devices).

In fact, when you separate those two (IoT devices and sensitive-info devices) a hacker can't even see everything on your network. This is because they’re on another network entirely.

This is an important layer of security to use. Whether you’re a remote worker or use your computer for home budgeting and banking, it's an important security layer. All PCs and smartphones usually contain access to online banking or personal information.

Here are the steps to take to separate your IoT devices. (Note, we are available to help you with this if needed!)

  • Step 1: Log into your router settings.

  • Step 2: Look for an area that allows you to set up a guest network. This will be different for each router, so you may need to access a help guide online.

  • Step 3: Set up the guest network according to the router prompts. Make sure to use a strong password.

  • Step 4: Edit the password for your existing network. This keeps IoT devices from automatically reconnecting to it.

  • Step 5: Connect all IoT devices in your home to the new guest network.

  • Step 6: Reconnect your sensitive devices (computers, smartphones) to the preexisting network. Use the new password.

As you add any new devices to your home network, make sure to connect them to the appropriate network. This keeps the layer of security effective and airtight against hackers.

One more tip: When naming your Wi-Fi networks, don’t use descriptive names. Labeling it "IoT Network" or "Guest Network" clues hackers into the fact that there is more being hidden elsewhere, and they might go looking for those more important devices.

It’s best to choose names that won’t give the hackers valuable information they can use in attacks.

Need Assistance Upgrading Your Home Cybersecurity?

With so many remote workers, hackers have begun targeting home networks. They know they can find sensitive business as well as personal data by doing so. Don’t leave yourself open to a breach. Talk to us about improving your home networks today!

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