I have been warning you about dangers in the rapidly expanding Internet of things for more than seven years.  The Internet of Things is made up of a broad range of devices connected to the Internet including home thermostats, security systems, medical devices, refrigerators, televisions, cars and toys.  Our homes have become filled with these devices including Alexa and Siri. The FBI has longed warned  consumers about the dangers of posed by hacking of various devices that makeup the Internet of Things.   Here is a link to the FBI warning. https://www.ic3.gov/media/2018/180802.aspx

Cybercriminals hack into your devices that are a part of the Internet of Things to enable them to enlist your devices as a part of a botnet by which they can distribute malware while maintaining their anonymity. They also can hack into your Internet of Thing devices to access your home computers to steal information for purposes of identity theft or to implant malware on your home computers.  The risks are extreme, but there are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself.

TIPS

Most of the devices that make up the Internet of Things come with preset passwords that can easily be discovered by hackers.  Change your password as soon as you set up the product.  Also, set up a guest network on your router exclusively for your Internet of Things devices.  This is important so that you can keep the sensitive personal information you have on your computer or laptop from being accessible through a hacking of any of your Internet of Things devices.  Configure network firewalls to block traffic from unauthorized IP addresses and disable port forwarding.  Make sure that you install the latest security patches as soon as they become available.  Use encryption software for the transmission of data and find out where data is stored and what steps are taken to secure the information.  Also, limit the amount of information you provide when setting up the accounts for smart toys.  The less information out there, the less the risk of identity theft. Most devices allow you to select options that increase your security and privacy.  Make sure your router is secure and use its whitelisting capabilities which will prevent your device from connecting to malicious networks.  Routers are a critical part of your smart home security.  Make sure it will automatically download and install the latest security updates from its manufacturer.  If your router is an older router that does not have this capability, you can check the manufacturer’s website regularly for the latest updates, but frankly, you are probably better served by getting a newer, more secure router.  Make sure you have a unique password for each of your Internet of Things devices and use dual factor authentication whenever you can for all of these devices.

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