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Top tips to improve IoT smart home security

Take steps to protect your smart home gadgets by implementing and adopting a hardware-led approach that sees security embedded from the ground up.

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Topic: Security
Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
1 of 9 CloudPets

By 2020 there will be 21 billion connected devices

A survey by the consumer group Which showed that over half of the smart household gadgets they tested were vulnerable to attack over the internet, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. Here are some steps you can take to minimise the risk of this happening, according to the report from not-for-profit Prpl Foundation.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
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Check for router firmware updates

The longer your firmware goes without an update, the more vulnerabilities and exploits it can contain. Bugs in router firmware enables attackers to access routers and change, for example, DNS or other settings.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
3 of 9 Eileen Brown

Change default password on router

It is really important to change the password on the router (and the account name if possible). Attackers can hack into routers by using default credentials or using brute-force password guesses. In fact, anyone who comes within Wi-Fi range can log onto the router, hijack, or shut down the network.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
4 of 9 Eileen Brown

Configure firewall policies

Firewall policies lets you view and modify access rules and enables you to filter traffic. Look for 'port forwarding' to block unauthorised access requests. Make sure that ports 80, 443, and port 25 stay open to let HTTP, HTTPS, and SMTP traffic through.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
5 of 9 Eileen Brown

Enable MAC filtering

Enabling MAC filtering means that the router will only accept traffic for specific MAC addresses. Other devices are prevented from authenticating with the router.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
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Use guest network for all home devices

Putting most of your home devices on a guest network can achieve security by separation. This can prevent malware targeting local IP addresses from inside the firewall. However, it also means that devices can't 'talk' to one another.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
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Enable wireless isolation

Wireless isolation prevents devices -- connected to the network using a wireless connection -- from accessing devices connected to a wired connection.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
8 of 9 Eileen Brown

Disable UPnP

Disabling UPnP is a double-edged sword. If you disable UPnP, it will be more difficult sharing digital content around the home, but leaving this open presents a security risk to the smart home.

Half of smart household gadgets vulnerable to attack Tips to improve IoT security in the home ZDNet
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Close all ports on your firewall

Firewall ports should never be opened in a typical home installation, as it increases the internet attack surface. People mistakenly believe that they need more ports open to access more services. Listening ports should only be open if you need to access resources inside the firewall when you are outside the home.

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