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Eight Tips from Experian to Keep Your IoT-Enabled Gifts Secure

By Ken Briodagh December 27, 2016

As we roll past the gift-giving holidays this year, it looks like IoT-enabled devices were among the top holiday gifts, and so more and more people are going to be putting their homes and personal lives online in the next few weeks. Some of these gifts include Amazon Echo and Google Home systems, smart TVs and personal wearables. Of course, all of these new connections mean more possible sources of security and privacy risks.

“A common mistake many of us make with Internet-connected devices is that we treat each one individually. The Internet of Things is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why it’s so important to understand and treat each connected device as part of a broader network,” said Steve Platt, Global EVP, Fraud and Identity, Experian. “I don’t necessarily think about someone hacking into my new smart thermostat and accessing temperature preferences. But if they can access my thermostat, they can get into my Wi-Fi network. From there they can access my computer or other connected devices where I have a lot more private and valuable information.”

The good news, according to personal security experts Experian, is that consumers can have both convenience and privacy, as long as they learn how to secure these devices.

Here, the company provides eight tips to help protect identity while enjoying these sweet new toys.

  1. Make sure the products and services were purchased from reputable companies.
  2. Take a few minutes to review the privacy and data usage policies for each product or service. These privacy policies and data use statements should be clear, easy to read and easy to understand. It’s important to know how your personal data is used, stored or shared and to be comfortable with the terms before using the device.
  3. Look for devices that use end-to-end encryption, meaning third parties can’t read or listen to your communications. More and more products are including this terminology right in the product description. If it’s not there, ask.
  4. Be careful when turning on features for less secure devices. Remember that a less secure device can open a door into your network, which can lead to access to other connected devices.
  5. Change the default password before connecting the device to your network and enable two-factor authentication options, when available, for additional security.
  6. Pay extra attention to your Wi-Fi network and leverage all available security options, including things like router and network passwords, encryption, firewalls and firmware.
  7. Be aware of the applications installed on devices, and download applications only from reputable providers. Also, only download apps created by trusted entities.
  8. Make sure children are supervised, especially when downloading apps and connecting to other devices.

With a little bit of Internet street smarts, the IoT holds few dangers and all the advantages of our IoT Evolution.




Edited by Alicia Young

Editorial Director

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