Increase your Home Network Security; to protect your business.
Did you know that the typical home now contains an average of 10.37 devices connected to the internet? The number of internet-connected devices in the house has been growing enormously over the past decade. Homes across Melbourne contain a wide range of phones, laptops and tablets… but half of that average figure consists of IoT devices.
IoT stands for Internet of Things. Essentially, that means any other type of ‘smart device’ which connects to your home WiFi. So, for example, the typical home can include smart fridges, streaming sticks, your baby monitor and, of course, Alexa and Google Home voice assistants.
Remote work has significantly increased across Melbourne, contributing to the growth of computers, phones and IoT devices in the average home.
Unfortunately, security concerns must be addressed when considering these IoT devices and the fact that they share a WiFi network with your work computer and other devices.
You cannot afford to have your home network be the weakest link in your work cybersecurity.
Here are a couple of alarming statistics that illustrate the problems associated with IoT security:
- The number of IoT cyberattacks during the first six months of 2021 was up 135% from 2020.
- More than 25% of cyberattacks against businesses involve IoT devices.
It’s clear, then, that we must all play our part in protecting data by putting IoT devices on a guest WiFi network.
Scammers use IoT Devices as a gateway to Computers & Smartphones.
Smart devices are a risk to every other device with which it shares a network because they are typically easier for hackers to breach. Therefore, hackers will often use smart devices as a gateway to access more sensitive data on other devices.
A criminal probably won’t care about the shopping list stored on your smart refrigerator… that is unless your list includes instant coffee! However, they will attack that IoT device to identify other devices on the same network.
Once they’ve done that, the hacker can use sharing and permissions often present on home networks to gain access to your work computer or mobile device. Those devices will hold vital information that a hacker can use, personal details, and sensitive data.
But why are these IoT devices less secure than computers and smartphones? Here are a few key reasons:
- IoT devices usually don’t have antivirus software or anti-malware capabilities
- Users often don’t update IoT devices regularly
- These devices have very basic interfaces which can hide a breach
- Homeowners often don’t change the default device username and password
- Sharing settings on IoT devices makes them easier to hack.
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to ensure IoT devices are not providing a gateway for malicious cyber attacks.
Putting IoT on a Separate WiFi Network improves security.
Virtually all modern routers possess the ability to set up a second WiFi network, called a ‘guest network’. The guest network shows up when you connect to WiFi as a separate WiFi connection, which a device can use to get online.
Placing your IoT devices on a separate network improves cyber security at home. It effectively cuts the bridge between IoT devices and other devices on your home network, making it more tedious and time-consuming for hackers to access those work (or personal) devices. In turn, this ensures that your sensitive data is safer.
When you separate your devices by placing IoT devices on a guest network, a hacker who breaches the IoT device won’t be able to see your other devices at all! This is because your personal and work devices on the main network won’t be visible from the guest network.
Guest networks provide an essential and easy layer of security to use. Whether you’re working remotely at home or using your home computer for banking and finances, this extra protection could save the day. However, it’s important to remember that all your computers, phones and laptops probably have access to your online banking or personal information.
How to Separate Your IoT Devices on a Guest Network
These steps you can take to separate your IoT devices from the rest of your devices. Do note that we’re happy to do this for you to save any headaches or potentially costly mistakes!
- Step 1: Log into your router settings. This is usually performed from a web browser. Make sure to have your router IP handy.
- Step 2: Look for a section to set up a guest network. This will be different depending on the manufacturer, so you may need to access a help guide. Be aware that your router may not have the ability to set up a guest network.
- Step 3: Set up the guest network using the router interface. Make sure to use a strong password. Use something like LastPass to generate a safe password.
- Step 4: Change the password for your existing network. This keeps IoT devices from automatically reconnecting to it.
- Step 5: Connect all IoT devices in your home to the new guest network.
- Step 6: Reconnect your sensitive devices (computers, smartphones) to the preexisting network. Use the new password.
In the future, when you add newly purchased devices to your home network, make sure they are connected to the correct one. IoT devices are on your guest network, while personal and work devices are connected to your primary network. This ensures that the extra layer of security is adequate.
Don’t forget to name your WiFi networks safely. Don’t use descriptive names like ‘IoT Network’, your name, address, or router model. It’s essential to ensure names aren’t giving potential hackers information that may help them access your network.
Need Help Upgrading Your Home Cybersecurity?
There are now hundreds of thousands of remote workers across Melbourne! Unfortunately, this has created more opportunities for malicious hackers, who are now presented with millions of devices containing sensitive business information. Ensure you’re protected from a cyber attack at home and schedule a home internet security review today. Because if you’re working from home, you don’t want to risk causing harm to your business.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.