As we try to simplify our lives especially at this time when everything is moving fast, we are increasingly relying on our connected devices. Who hasn't used their smart device to save a note or schedule an appointment? Or who has not acquired smart home appliances, as it is now difficult to overlook smart TVs, for example.
However, the proliferation of all these devices poses risks to our security, as gadgets and gizmos, if not properly protected, can become a gateway for cyber criminals.
But what steps can you take to ensure the security of your Internet-connected devices and reduce your chances of being hacked?
As October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, scientists at global cybersecurity firm ESET are pointing out ways you can protect yourself.
Ultimately, the key message of the initiative this year is: "Everything that is going to be connected must be protected!"
Protect your Wi-Fi router
The security of your router should be the first step you take to protect your internet connection. After all, it is the gateway to all your connected devices. A common mistake that users make when installing a Wi-Fi router is not changing the default settings. And while this is convenient for most of us, it can cause huge security problems. This is why you need to immediately change the password you use to connect your router and the password you use to access the device settings.
When changing the router password, select WPA2 (or WPA 3 on newer routers if all your devices can connect). And, as with all devices, remember to update your router with the latest firmware. While many routers do this automatically, it is not a bad idea to check every now and then to make sure everything is up to date. For more tips, you can see the ESET article on ways to check if your router is securely configured.
Be smart with your smartphone
The smartphone is probably the device that most of us use the most. We no longer use it only for calls but also for taking photos, saving files, receiving and sending emails - it is basically a small computer in the palm of your hand. And since it is connected to the internet, you have to protect it. Most smartphones can now be protected with an endpoint security solution that can prevent most threats.
In the meantime, for added protection, you should encrypt all the sensitive data you have on your phone so that it is even more difficult for cybercriminals to use your data even if they have access to your device. You can enhance the security of your smartphone by applying the tips listed by ESET in Article 20 Tips for 2020.
Protect your smart TV
Today, almost all TVs have built-in smart features, and even those with non-smart TVs choose to upgrade to external streaming devices such as Chromecast or Roku. However, as with many other devices, smart TVs can be compromised by cybercriminals who can either exploit the vulnerabilities and take control of the TV remotely or infect them with malware. To protect your smart TV, you need to start by setting it up properly and checking for software updates. Finally, there are security solutions available that can enhance the security of your device.
Encrypt your internet traffic
Another way to enhance your security is to encrypt your internet traffic. The simplest way is to create a virtual private network (VPN), which will act as an encrypted tunnel that will allow you to move securely on the Internet away from prying eyes.
The VPN It can also allow you to securely access data stored on your home network even if you are on the other side of the earth. Consider, perhaps, whether it is better to create a separate VPN for each of your connected smart devices to mitigate the risk of breach.
Download updates to your devices
There is no way to say it more clearly: you regularly download updates to your devices! It is true that with many connected devices it may not be easy, or even impossible to apply this tip. However, any fixes, security updates, and upgrades should be installed as soon as they are released.
In this way you will achieve the recovery of specific vulnerabilities that, if left unattended, could be exploited by cybercriminals or simply to further enhance the security of your devices. Do not ignore upgrade messages and do not delay installing an update if you know it is available.
With the number of connected devices in most households steadily increasing, we need to adapt and adopt best cyber security practices. While the convenience of smart devices is great and makes our lives simpler, we must always remember security. Cybercriminals need nothing more than a "crack" to "relax" you out of your wallet.
So do not forget: "Whatever is to be connected, must be protected!"