The risks of smart gadgets and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices are changing the world. The revenue from the sale of IoT devices has doubled every year in recent times. Many IoT machines are being developed for agriculture, transport and healthcare, but the technology is also increasingly being used in the home. Currently the most popular consumer products are doorbells, security cameras, smart locks, virtual assistants, thermostats and, since this year, air pollution monitors.

Everything remotely

We trust these appliances with our most boring day-to-day tasks, just as we’ve trusted our washing machines and toasters to make our lives easier for decades. Only this time we connect everything to a network so that we can control and monitor the devices remotely. Is this all safe or has the laziness really gone too far? And what can you do to make use as safe as possible?

Risks of an unsecured smart home

It doesn’t make sense to believe that the Chinese government is spying on you through your microwave. Also, a local hacker won’t be very interested in knowing how many crumbs are in the bin of your overpriced toaster, how often your cat has used the litter box or how many steps you’ve taken with your smart slippers. And yes, these are all actual devices that you can buy and connect to your network.

Hackers and snoopers can do very little with this information, but the problem is that you connect them to the same network that you connected your smart locks and security cameras to. All of your security devices are likely to be more expensive IoT devices that meet security standards and are very difficult to hack. That’s why criminals use unsecured devices to gain access to your network.

Steps to secure your smart home

  • Only buy reliable brands with a safety seal. It may seem like a lot of fun to order cheap unbranded gadgets from China yourself, but cheap (and useless) gadgets often lack safety features.
  • Make use of the settings to change the password and username so that the device is not easy to hack.
  • Update the software of all devices. If a device releases a new version of the software, hackers can compare it to the old version and easily see the weaknesses of older versions. This makes all devices with outdated software an even easier target.
  • Turn off appliances when not in use. Without a network or signal, they cannot be hacked.
  • Do not communicate with your home network while connected to public Wi-Fi. Always use your mobile data or a VPN when connecting to your home network remotely.
  • Install a VPN on your router to secure your entire home network with all devices at once.

Good VPN services offer a VPN that you can install directly on your router or sell ready-made, preconfigured routers with a VPN. This way you can protect everything that is connected to that router in one go.

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