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How to Stay Safe When Using Smart Devices

19 July 2021

Is your business using smart technology? Whether it’s to control your office heating settings, your team speakers, smart TVs or wireless printers, you might sometimes forget about the huge number of devices listening in to your every move during the working day. 

Plus it’s not just the centrally-controlled devices that you need to consider – with all smartphones adopting virtual assistants such as Siri or Bixby, it’s likely that most of your staff have active smart devices near them during business hours too. 

With many in the UK still working from home, you and your employees could be unwittingly leaving your business and your confidential data at risk on a daily basis. 

What are the risks?

A recent experiment conducted by consumer publication Which? set out to discover how many hacking attempts there would be when connecting to a variety of appliances such as smart TVs, wireless security cameras, wifi kettles and more. During the first week, there were over 1,000 unique scans or hacking attempts from around the world and it was estimated that around 66 of these could be classed as malicious. 

As the test continued over a number of weeks, the number of hacking attempts rose to over 12,500 during the busiest seven days, with nearly 20% of those trying to maliciously log into devices by guessing usernames and passwords. 

Luckily, most of these attacks were blocked by existing security protocols which come as standard on many devices. But it’s clear that hacking smart technology is a very real threat and that the perpetrators are becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

Kate Bevan, Which? computing editor said: “While smart home gadgets and devices can bring huge benefits to our daily lives, consumers should be aware that some of these appliances are vulnerable to hackers and offer little or no security.”

“Proposed new government laws to tackle devices with poor security can’t come soon enough – and must be backed by strong enforcement.”

What can be done to help?

  1. Firstly, it’s important to be aware of which devices are active and could be listening in at any one time. Whether that’s in your home office or in a team environment, now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at the technology you’re using and decide which devices you really need.
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong password. During the experiment conducted by Which?, hackers tried to guess usernames and passwords to maliciously access smart technology. With this in mind, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re using passwords with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters, that they are a good length and that they’re not easily guessable.
  1. Create a secure Wi-Fi network by choosing an effective network name and possibly hiding your location. As leading specialists in wireless network design and implementation, ICT Solutions have a four step system to ensure your network is completely safe, reliable and performing well.
  1. Keep your devices up to date whenever a new update becomes available. Google has recently pledged to adhere to five new safety protocols including software updates, safety patches and increased user visibility, so it pays to make sure you’re following any prompts when they appear on your device. The internet giant has also announced that they’ll be implementing specific software to check if your devices have been tampered with on start up. So when your smart tech isn’t in use, make sure you’re switching it off completely.
  1. Clearing your data if you’re upgrading or passing any devices on may seem like a straightforward tip, but it’s important to factory reset any smart technology before it leaves your possession to ensure your data isn’t compromised by a new user.

ICT Solutions can help keep you and your data safe

Whether it’s setting up a secure wireless network for your business, managing firewalls or offering regular website and data backups, ICT Solutions are experts in cyber security
Get in touch with us today to explore how our cyber security services can give you peace of mind and protect your business from malicious threats.