Hackers coming through the fridge door...
Posted by Kevin Hood, CISA, IT Consultant, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 2/27/2017

Is your TV secure?  What about your fridge?  Who would have thought a few years ago that we would have to worry about these things!  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Internet of Things” or “IoT;” don’t worry, it is still fairly new, and you should have plenty of time to start developing a strategy to manage it.  IoT is the term used for all of the smart devices available to consumers and businesses.  From smart TVs to refrigerators, thermostats, and coffee pots – everything today seems to be connected.

While you may not have any of these devices in place currently, chances are, you will in the future.  Unfortunately, most IoT manufacturers are not concerned with cybersecurity.  Most devices are configured with default passwords that are readily available on the Internet.  Also, many of these devices have no configuration options for the end user. While some of this security is out of your control, here are a few tips to ensure these devices are as secure as possible.

  • Only connect the device to your network if needed.  This is the easiest way to protect your network.  If you don’t need the functionality, don’t connect it to your WiFi.
  • Choose wisely.  Before purchasing a connected device, perform your due diligence/risk assessment and only purchase devices that comply with your security policy.
  • Isolate the network.  If you need the online functionality of the IoT devices, consider installing a separate WiFi network, with no access to your internal network.
  • Strong passwords. As with anything, if you have the option to set a strong password, do it.  Make sure the password is complex, using uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters.
  • Keep devices updated.  Yes, even these devices need updates from time to time.  If the device has an option for automatic updates, this should be enabled.  Check the manufacturer’s website periodically for security patches.
  • Disable remote access.  Some devices will have remote access functionality on by default.  Turn this off when not needed.

Hopefully, as the usage of IoT devices increases, manufacturers will begin to address cybersecurity more aggressively.  Until then, analyze each device and implement as many controls as you can.

Categories: Technology Consulting & Compliance
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