Some 50 million of us are either buying Internet of Things (IoT) devices for our loved ones this Christmas, or are due to receive them on the day.
This is according to estimates from the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a charitable organisation with the mission to enhance online trust and empower users, while promoting innovation and the vitality of the internet.
The OTA’s IoT Working Group, made up of some of the world’s most recognisable brands, has taken this revelation to timely remind buyers and receivers of these devices about the cyber security threats they possess.
In the words of Craig Spiezle, executive director and president, OTA, “That’s 50 million opportunities for data and home network compromises as well as privacy abuses.”
The organisation has released a Smart Device and Set-Up Checklist to help protect the security and privacy of consumers who buy or are given smart devices.
Failure to follow these guidelines may lead to users putting theirs or their loved ones’ personal data at risk.
The team at Ward Solutions has studied the list and identified some of the top line recommendations to stay cyber safe this Christmas:
- Confirm your ability to get a refund for the device if the security is not adequate
- Review the device’s warranty and ensure security and software patches are provided
- Register it with the manufacturer to ensure you receive security updates
- Use a unique user name and password and change it frequently
- Be mindful when browsing and downloading apps – use the manufacturer’s official site where possible
- Disable or protect remote access when not needed to reduce the risk of hacking
- Use a router-based firewall and turn on any built-in firewall settings
- If selling the device, reset it to factory settings and clear any saved data. If buying a second hand device, do the same if the previous user has not
- Disable any camera and microphone when not using them
- Create user profiles with unique settings for children using the device
The full list can be seen here.
IoT is about to take over, with anywhere from 25 – 40 billion connected devices predicted to be in play by 2020, according to industry experts.
Users, i.e. the majority of human beings on the planet, should take this time to heed this advice and embrace the newly connected world with security and privacy front of mind.
For further advice and support in this area, contact Ward Solutions today.