Cyber Security: How to Secure Office IoT Devices

An internet of things (IoT) device is any smart device that is connected to the internet. Many of these devices are everyday objects—like watches or thermostats—that connect via Wi-Fi, allowing users to control them remotely or even collect data.

Employers pride themselves on using IoT technology to make their workplaces more modern and help them stand out from their competitors. Things like smart desks, video conferencing systems, security systems, smart TVs and intelligent HVAC systems are becoming more commonplace. Unfortunately, these same gadgets, as well as other IoT devices, can create a growing security threat for businesses who aren’t prepared.

There is a lack of consistency between manufacturing companies who make the IoT devices. They have different operating systems and different security measures, and some aren’t even capable of software updates. This makes it difficult for IT departments to prevent hackers from accessing IoT devices and gaining access to company networks.

That’s not to say that your organization shouldn’t use IoT devices altogether. You just need to take extra precautions. Here are a few ways to protect your valuable data while reaping the benefits of IoT devices:

  • Consider multi-factor authentication or use certificates. Both are able to stall hackers who’ve managed to crack your password.
  • Create a separate Wi-Fi network specifically for all IoT devices. If hackers access the IoT network, your separate business network should still be safe.
  • Limit access to sensitive data. For example, IoT security cameras can expose sensitive information to hackers. Therefore, it is important to consider what the device has access to before setting it up. Be sure to also clear its storage on a regular basis. In addition, it’s important to never store critical business or personal data on these devices.
  • In the event of a hack, be prepared to disable your devices and reset the factory settings at any time. If you regularly back up your devices, it should be easy enough to restore them and reconnect.
  • Avoid installing third-party software. It’s easy to add functionality to IoT devices simply by installing additional applications. However, you should never install software from an untrusted source. Doing so can open the door to hackers.
  • Turn off IoT devices when they aren’t in use. This may seem like a simple solution, but active devices are vulnerable to attacks. Just by switching off unused devices, you can improve network security overall.

Although IoT technology is likely here to stay, it is important to remember that it is still in its infancy. By taking proper precautions, you can enjoy its conveniences instead of letting it threaten your business operations.

500 Million Guests Exposed

Marriott International, a hospitality company that oversees one of the largest hotel chains in the world, announced that its guest reservation system had been hacked. Marriott indicated that information from approximately 500 million of their guests had been exposed in the breach, making this one of the largest cyber incidents in history.

Specifically, guests who have made bookings with the company’s Starwood properties on or before Sept. 10, 2018, may have had sensitive information—including names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, credit card numbers and other identifying information—compromised.