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Smart devices: internet enabled devices and gadgets

To stay competitive and efficient, many businesses are relying more and more on smart devices and gadgets. They save time, effort, money and can be a great asset to an organisation.

However, unsecured smart devices can also leave a business exposed and provide a backdoor to its network.

These devices make up what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT) – a vast array of internetworked ‘things’ ranging from domestic appliances to buildings and vehicles.

Any device that has internet connectivity, including printers, thermostats, wifi deadlocks, even devices to help you remember to water the office plants, can be exploited if they are not properly secured.

This industry is booming, and is expected to be worth $4.7 billion in Australia alone in the next four years.

Also booming is the rate of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks that co-opt unprotected devices into a botnet to bring down networks. Attackers use easily available software to craw the internet and find unprotected devices and then infect them with malicious code to form a botnet.

The more unprotected devices available, the greater the opportunity and scale of DDOS attacks. So while your business may not experience one, your devices many be exploited to be used against another network.

Typically, the owner of the device has no way of knowing when it has been compromised.

Securing smart devices

  • Whenever possible, change any default passwords on the device to a secure and private password. If unsure, look up how to change the device settings on the manufacturer’s official website or contact their customer service centre. Learn how to create and remember strong passwords.
  • Make sure your business wireless network is properly secured. Learn how to protect your network.
  • Understand how any stored data (usage patterns, office activity, etc.) will be managed by reading the terms and conditions of use.
  • Ensure software updates are set to apply automatically on your device. Learn about updates.
  • Follow all instructions when installing and configuring the settings for the device.

You should also continue to be vigilant about protecting these devices throughout their lifespan.