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National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity and increasing the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Security and the Internet of Things will have you wondering, what difference it makes if someone hacks your Nest thermostat or your smart coffee maker. Other than uncomfortable temperatures and coffee when you don’t expect it, you might also have some physical dangers come about because of insecure smart devices: front doors unlocking on their own, compromised medical devices, and disabled security systems. Once the hacker gains access to one of the devices on your network, it’s only a matter of time before they steal your personally identifiable information, log into your bank accounts, get your credit card numbers,

it’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the FBI has provided these tips for making sure your minimize your risks:

  • Understand your IoT devices. Many come with default passwords or open Wi-Fi connections, so change to a strong password and only allow the device to operate on a network with a secured Wi-Fi router.
  • Protect your Wi-Fi networks—set up firewalls and use strong, complex passwords, and consider using media access control address filtering to limit the devices able to access your network.
  • Many routers give you the option to set up more than one network—if yours does, separate your computing devices from your IoT devices and spread them throughout several different networks. That way, if cyber criminals break into one network, the damage they do will only be limited to the devices on that one network.
  • Disable the Universal Plug and Play protocol (UPnP) on your router—UPnP can be exploited to access many IoT devices.
  • Purchase IoT devices from manufacturers with a track record of providing secure devices, and set your devices for automatic updates when available.

Thinks smarter with your Internet of Things devices, and you can enjoy their convenience without worrying about losing your identity (or shirt). It only takes a few steps to implement these security measures, and very little time, so get things configured the way they should be. Then enjoy your smart thermostat and lighting.

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