Is your network acting strangely? How to protect and stop your tech from turning on you

If you have recently added a connected device to your home or office, you are certainly not alone. Millions of smart devices have already been sold, and millions more are expected to join them in the coming years.

These devices bring great convenience to our lives making everything from ordering groceries to checking the weather easier than ever before. Unfortunately, however, security on these devices is often weak, and hackers have already used them to steal identities, wipe out data and extort users. If you do not want to be the next victim, you need to lock down your connected devices.

Here are some tips to keep you and your network safe.

Set up a separate IoT network

One of the best ways to enjoy the power of your connected devices without undue risk is to set up a separate wireless network just for them. Most modern routers support the creation of multiple networks, and many even provide easy step-by-step instructions for doing so.

Isolating your smart televisions, smart speakers and other IoT devices from your main network provides an extra level of protection, so you can enjoy all the great things these devices have to offer without putting your other devices, or your identity, at risk.

Disable the features you do not need

Connected devices come with a host of features, so many in fact that you may never use them all. Disabling the features you do not expect to use or need is one way to protect yourself, since doing so will shut down one more point of entry hackers could use to intrude on your network and steal your files.

Maybe you want your new smart refrigerator to order groceries when you run out of milk. Maybe you plan to turn down the freezer from afar. If you have no interest in these features, however, turning them off will do no harm and it could provide extra protection.

Set strong passwords

The password is your first line of defence, not only for your smartphone and tablet but for your connected devices as well. Make sure every device you plan to add to your network has a user-settable password, and make sure the credentials you choose are strong and difficult to guess.

Avoid anything that could be learned through your social media accounts or online presence – no pet names or children’s birthdays. Choose a long string of characters, one that is meaningful to you but useless to anyone else.

Use a different password for each connected device

Setting a strong password is important, but it is just as critical to choose a separate set of credentials for every connected device. Reusing passwords and user names is just asking for trouble, so create list of strong credentials and store them either offline or in a quality password manager.

It is also a good idea to change your passwords regularly, especially if there has been a new security breach. Changing your passwords is not a panacea, but it is an extra line of defence between you and the bad guys.

The connected home is becoming commonplace, with televisions that interact seamlessly with your favourite streaming services and washing machines that can be controlled from your smartphone. If you want to enjoy the power and the convenience of your connected devices, it is important to make security a priority. These devices are often the weak link – the point of entry into an otherwise secure network. If you do not want your connected devices to turn on you, the tips listed above can help you protect yourself and your data.

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