Everybody loves the modern conveniences of having a smart home and gadgets, but have you ever thought that it could be damaging to your health and personal safety? In the 21st century, we now have the capability of walking into our homes and telling our smart device to turn on the lights and TV for us. We can even tell our vehicle where we would like to go, and it takes us there. Honestly, the majority of people do not stop to think about the security implications that are associated with owning these devices. We just know that we have this device that is supposed to do A, B, and C to make my life easier and it should work. However, being ignorant about security is a no win situation. Below there are four easy steps that you can do to secure your smart devices:
- Someone could be watching and listening to you in your home through your computer. You should always make sure that a piece of tape is on your laptop or computers’ camera. Even though no one has the ability to stop a hacker from taking over (if they get in) their device altogether, at least this way the unsuspected victim will not have footage made of them. Any type of Remote Administrative Tool, or RAT, will give a hacker the ability to remote into your device and have a field day. But by having a good firewall on your devices it will provide an extra layer of protection on it. Defense in Depth goes a long way in adding layer upon layer of protection on your devices from malicious attacks.
- Turn Off certain smart features in your home. When you disable specific data-collecting features and voice recognition capabilities on your smart devices, it will prevent someone from using a recording of your voice to access stored sensitive data. Also, be sure to delete any stored recordings on your smart devices. If someone were to hack into your device they will be able to hear all of your activity and use those pre-recorded voice recordings to possibly steal your identity. Devices like Amazon Echo or Alexa could be listening to your conversations or using your voice logs against you. Make sure that you go to your Devices tab on your smart device and select “manage your voice recordings” to make the appropriate adjustments for your privacy needs. Owners of smart devices should not store any credit cards or banking information into websites. No one can deny the convenience of being able to tell Alexa to go ahead and purchase that movie and not worry about inputting your credit card information. Just keep in mind that you made it easier and more convenient for a hacker to steal your sensitive data. It is important that you know and understands all of the things that your smart devices are capable of.
- Secure your smartphone. Anyone can create an app nowadays. The best way to keep your smartphone, iPad or tablet safe from any malicious apps is to only download apps from the official Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Unlike third-party applications, the apps that are on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store has to be vetted from a credible source. However, not all malware stop at the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and malicious applications still can get through all of the best defenses. Make sure that you do your research before you download an app onto your smart device. Once you have conducted the research on the validity of the app, make sure that you pay close attention to all that the other app it will be connecting to. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why does a simple game need to have access to my photos, messages, and contacts?”. Having good anti-virus software is a great extra step in protecting your devices.
- Become aware of the risks that come with owning a smart car. The smart car can be viewed as an IoT (Internet of Things) to vehicles as it allows for multiple devices to connect to it. The smart car technology allows for its owners to use their devices to view, control, or even set up their car, and just like any other technology it has the capability to be hacked. Hackers can hack into your unsecured smart cars through thumb drives, dvds’ and wi-fi. Once a hacker has gained control over your vehicle they will be able to control where your vehicle goes or even the other electronics within your car. Vehicles are becoming smarter and more technology-driven than human-driven. Vehicular cyber sabotage is real, and it is important to report any suspicious activity as it could save your life.
If you suspect that your smartphone, tablet, home wi-fi, or computer has been hacked or compromised, make sure you disconnect the device from the internet immediately. This disconnection will eliminate the hackers’ access to your device. After disconnecting from the internet run antivirus software on your device and worst-case scenario you may have to wipe everything off of your device and start over.