IoT Devices

Many of us may have Internet of Things (IoT) devices in our home. The way most IoT devices work is that they phone home to a cloud-based service enabling their ability to be controlled remotely. These devices include thermostats, home audio systems, lights and even cameras. 

Be very careful what you plug into your home. A device that is on your network has access to everything else on the network and a device that is recording video and audio can record anything that happens or is said within your home. 

First, limit the number of IoT devices in your home. If you’re concerned about your personal privacy, consider ditching those IoT lightbulbs that are constantly communicating with the Internet. If you need IoT devices, purchase these types of devices from responsible companies that are more likely to have quality product updating procedures. Companies like Google, Apple and Amazon will not let their devices exist with vulnerabilities for very long before patching them. In most cases they are informed of the vulnerabilities by Bug Bounty researchers early on and fix the issue before it is made public. Other companies may not have the resources to keep the device you have up-to-date or may have abandoned the device all together. Take inventory of the devices you have in your home. Regularly check for updates. If you are no longer using any of them, unplug them now. If you know you have updates waiting to be installed, run those now as well. 

Second, you should make sure that the passwords you have chosen are strong, not the same as any other password you have chosen, and that you have enabled 2-factor authentication here as well. 

Finally, pay close attention to any devices that can record audio and/or video. If you do not need the audio on a camera feed for example, turn it off.

(This guide is part of a series on Personal Security.)