Internet of Things (IoT) security: 9 ways you can help protect yourself

Written by a NortonLifeLock employee


Feb. 6, 2019

Internet of Things security focuses on protecting your internet-enabled devices that connect to each other on wireless networks. IoT security is the safety component tied to the Internet of Things, and it strives to protect IoT devices and networks against cybercrime.

What’s happening with IoT cybercrime today and tomorrow?

IoT security is a growing concern. Here’s why.

Your connected devices are data collectors. The personal information collected and stored with these devices — such as your name, age, health data, location and more — can aid criminals in stealing your identity.

At the same time, the Internet of Things is a growing trend, with a stream of new products hitting the market. But here’s the problem: When you’re connected to everything, there are more ways to access your information. That can make you an attractive target for people who want to make a profit off of your personal data.

Every connected device you own can add another privacy concern, especially since most of them connect to your smartphone.

Here’s how it works. Whether you need to check the cameras in your home, lock or unlock a door, adjust temperature or lighting, pre-heat the oven, or turn off a TV — you can do it all remotely with just a few taps on your smartphone.

But the more functionalities you add to your smartphone, the more information you store in the device. This could make smartphones and anything connected to them vulnerable to a multitude of different types of attacks.

9 security measures you can take to help secure your devices

IoT technologies pose potential dangers to your internet safety. News reports have ranged from an IoT botnet taking down portions of the Internet to hackers exploiting baby monitors.

That’s why it’s a good idea to protect your digital life by securing your IoT-connected devices. Here are ten ways to do that.

  1. Install reputable internet security software on your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
  2. Use strong and unique passwords for device accounts, Wi-Fi networks, and connected devices. Don’t use common words or passwords that are easy to guess, such as “password” or “123456.”
  3. Be aware when it comes to apps. Always make sure you read the privacy policy of the apps you use to see how they plan on using your information and more.
  4. Do your research before you buy. Devices become smart because they collect a lot of personal data. While collecting data isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you should know about what types of data these devices collect, how it’s stored and protected, if it is shared with third parties, and the policies or protections regarding data breaches.
  5. Know what data the device or app wants to access on your phone. If it seems unnecessary for the app’s functionality or too risky, deny permission.
  6. Use a trusted VPN, which helps to secure the data transmitted on your home or public Wi-Fi.
  7. Check the device manufacturer’s website regularly for firmware updates.
  8. Use caution when using social sharing features with these apps. Social sharing features can expose information like your location and let people know when you’re not at home. Cybercriminals can use this to track your movements. That could lead to a potential cyberstalking issue or other real-world dangers.
  9. Never leave your smartphone unattended if you’re using it in a public space. In crowded spaces, you should also consider turning off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth access if you don’t need them. Some smartphone brands allow automatic sharing with other users in close proximity.

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Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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