Tips to Keep Your Smart Devices Protected

Are you and your smart devices cybersecure? For Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Joseph Williams, Managing Director at the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics & Cybersecurity at Champlain College, compiled 10 simple ways to #BeCyberSmart, protecting against hacking, tracking, and other potential cybercrimes. 

On average, U.S. households have 22 entertainment and smart devices. These devices make day-to-day tasks easier and keep us and our homes connected. But the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) also increases the risk of exposure to private data and personal information. Here are Williams’ tips: 

  1. Use strong login credentials: People tend to use the same username and password for all of their devices. When thinking of passwords, they should be 15+ characters long, unique, and randomly generated.
  2. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): You will need more than a password. Enabling MFA or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is an added layer of security beyond a mere password.
  3. Configure device setting: Before using an IoT device, you should configure default settings. Configuring it always helps to make the accessibility one level stronger than the previous one.
  4. Disable unnecessary features: A good rule in protecting an IoT device is to disable any features or functions you do not need. That includes open ports.
  5. Keep Software Updated: An important factor in IoT device security is software updates. Do not wait to update. If you get notified of a software update, stop what you are doing and update.  
  6. Know your devices: Know what types of devices are connected to your network and keep an inventory of those connected devices. Take time to check if newer models might offer stronger security.
  7. Use separate networks: Make use of having a “Smart Network” by keeping IoT devices on a different network. This keeps other networks, such as home and office environments, away from threats. 
  8. No 3rd party access: Revoke third party access. When necessary, manage permissions given to vendors.
  9. Unique names: When possible, change the name of your IoT devices to something unique to you. Keeping vendor names could identify the make or model. 
  10. Research: Look at reviews, security features, and number of purchases of an IoT device before you buy. 

Are your smart devices protected? The Leahy Center has your back!

To learn more about The Leahy Center and the hands-on experience students get while interning and working at the Center of Experience, click here. To read why Champlain College was named the Best Cybersecurity Higher Education Program, visit this link.

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