What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Internet of Things is a phrase that refers to the growing variety of devices capable of connecting to the internet. Examples include vehicles, thermostats, lights, doorbells, garages, locks, buildings, appliances, security cameras, and many others.
Convenience versus Security
These devices give us an unprecedented level of control and access which is very useful and convenient, but security must be considered when accessing our IoT devices via the internet. The use of computers and many types of technology, in general, is a delicate balancing act between convenience and security. For example, a short and simple password is convenient but insecure, whereas a long and more complex password is secure but inconvenient. Where we decide to operate on this spectrum is entirely up to us as individuals and organizations.
When using IoT devices in the home, Sparklight strongly recommends some basic security measures which can lessen the chances of intrusion.
- Local network versus internet access: Ask yourself whether the device in question really needs to be accessed when away from home. This can vary depending on the device, but the point is to limit access to the home network (not allowing access to the internet) as much as possible. Only devices that must absolutely be accessed from anywhere in the world should be given the ability to be connected via the internet.
- Admin password: When setting up these devices, it is vitally important to change their admin passwords. Individuals and organizations using bots are always scouring the internet and trying to log into these devices using the default credentials. To prevent this type of control, change the admin password when setting up a new device. Note: not all devices have admin passwords that can be changed – please check with the manufacturer if you are not certain. For more tips on setting passwords, visit our support article on Strong Passwords and Password Managers.
- Firmware updates: The firmware on each device should be kept current as the updates contain the latest security patches. If you are not sure if the firmware is current, please contact the device manufacturer or website for more information.