If you have installed a thermostat, doorbell or refrigerator with internet connectivity, you have accessed the rapidly expanding world of connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things, or IoT. While these devices allow you to remotely monitor conditions within your home, their convenience also carries risk. Any device connected to the internet is a potential target for cyber threats.
How to Protect Yourself
- Create strong, unique passwords of at least eight characters for each of your accounts and devices. If you reuse passwords, a criminal who discovers one of them could use it to access another device or account.
- Change the manufacturer’s default settings. Connected devices often come with default usernames and passwords that are published on the internet. Change them to something unique as soon as you can.
- Update your devices and applications regularly, and backup your files. If a connected device or its application has an auto-update feature, turn it on. This often requires only a few clicks to set up.
- Check your privacy settings. You may be sharing information through your device or its applications. Review your privacy settings to see if you are unintentionally sending information to social media accounts, for example.
- Turn encryption on. Some devices let you use encrypted communications, but the setting isn’t always turned on by default.
If you suspect you’ve been targeted:
- Disconnect devices from the internet to prevent cyber criminals from controlling them.
- Monitor devices and networks using the latest security protection tools, such as McAfee™ or IBM Trusteer® to find any infected files or malicious programs.
- Apply any available software patches, firmware or security patches after scanning and cleaning our system. Reset or reboot devices, if necessary.
- Change all passwords associated with the affected accounts and devices.
- Recover corrupted files from backups whenever possible.
- Call law enforcement and file reports with the relevant local authorities if you suspect sensitive information has been stolen or financial loss has occurred.