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Secure IoT at home: how to prevent hack attacks [Sponsored]

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary 21st-century technology where internet connectivity moves beyond traditional computing devices (e.g. laptop) into common everyday home appliances and even vehicles. There is no limit when it comes to the type of devices that can be interconnected together using IoT. From kitchen appliances such as fridges, microwaves and toasters to your television set and even the thermostats that regulate your home temperature.

All these devices communicate together and you can manage them using your Android smartphone. In addition, there are countless possibilities when it comes to working with smart devices. Imagine your fridge being able to notify you using your smartphone whenever you need to buy groceries or even take matters into its own hands and order your groceries online. Furthermore, as a car owner, you do not need to keep a schedule of when your car needs its routine maintenance because once there is a problem with it, the vehicle will be able to notify you through your smartphone device.

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Despite IoT being the revolutionary technology, securing these smart devices is still a major challenge. Furthermore, an attack on IoT systems could be life-threatening to the victim since hackers gain access to real functional objects in your home environment. However, as a smart home-owner, you can mitigate this problem by first ensuring your smartphone mobile device is safe and secure. Since all the IoT gadgets are controlled centrally using your smartphone, having secure smartphone connectivity to the internet can deter attackers to a certain level. In order to enhance secure communication between your smartphone and IoT devices, you should consider encrypting your internet traffic which can be done using a VPN. Therefore, having the best VPN for Android phone will encrypt your data, prevent hacking, eavesdropping or data theft.

Security Measures to prevent an attack

The first measure to prevent an attack is to constantly download firmware updates into your internet-enabled appliances. By doing so you will be regularly installing security patches and preventing hackers from exploiting vulnerabilities on your smart gadgets. Hackers can be very clever therefore they are constantly finding new ways to break into secure IoT systems. Having an updated firmware will, therefore, prevent attacks by reducing the number of vulnerabilities that can be used against you.

Next, use a strong password that consists of different letter and numbers on your devices to deter a brute-force attack. This attack occurs when a hacker tries to gain access to your home device using a combination of all possible passwords until they are successful. Therefore, having a strong password will make it harder if not impossible to crack. Additionally, do not share your password across various home appliances rather use one password per device.

Also, you should properly configure your home router. One way to achieve this is to consider changing the Service Set Identifier (SSID) on your home router from the default name given to it by the manufacturer. The SSID is simply the name of your home Wi-Fi network. Maintaining the manufacturer’s name can give away a lot of vital information like its make and model which can be used to launch an attack. Another proper configuration measure is to disable plug and play features on your router. Nonetheless, if you are having trouble with such configuration, you can seek assistance from a certified cyber-security professional.

As pointed earlier, a VPN establishes a secure link between the IoT device and the IoT app on your Android smartphone using encryption. This would, therefore, make this data useless to anyone who gains access to it. A VPN also prevents your smart home appliance from communicating with unauthorized IP addresses thus preventing unauthorized access. As a matter of fact, you can also use a VPN on your router too. However, not all free VPN software for Android is worth your time. Therefore, for maximum security, consider spending a few dollars because of your safety and privacy matters.

Also, consider setting up a separate Wi-Fi network on your home router for exclusive use by your IoT devices. This will ensure that you will have a separate network that you can use to access the internet for your normal browsing. It also ensures those devices are segregated from computers and mobile devices that may have internet access through your router.

Apart from the encryption options offered by VPN, there is also a need for authentication on the side of your home devices. Some of these devices support two-factor authentication where a unique one-time code is sent to your smartphone. Furthermore, two-factor authentication technique addresses the vulnerabilities of a standard password that has become an easy target for hackers employing password cracking software and brute force attacks. It worked by adding another layer of security by complimenting the username and password approach.

Feature image: supplied

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