Security Risks of Remote Worker Home Networks
Security Risks of IoT Devices on Home Networks – Is Your Company Data Exposed?
It was once the domain of science fiction to have someone enter a room and give a verbal command for lights and other devices to activate. What was once an amazing and futuristic feature of the starship Enterprise is now a reality. Modern smart devices can include far more than phones. Security systems and even your kitchen appliances can now communicate with one another through the Internet of Things (IoT).
While these devices can be wonderfully useful and timesaving, there is usually a trade-off of some sort for that convenience, and in this case, your security can be at risk. Here are some ways that you can remain secure even when using the IoT.
Connected Kitchen Appliances
The idea of having a smart home seems exciting and futuristic to many, and today’s devices and appliances are making it possible. You might have a smart fridge that monitors the items within to let you know when it is time to buy more, or perhaps you have a smart oven that works with Google Assistant and can be controlled through your smartphone. These devices should never be connected to your regular wireless network, lest you make your sensitive data vulnerable.
Smart locks allow you to enter and exit your home using your smartphone. You might even use voice recognition to do so and have the lock activate other devices so that as you arrive home the lights and TV come on. Unfortunately, many people tend to either not change default passwords, or always use a single password for everything, which can figuratively and literally leave the door open for criminal invaders to enter your home. Default passwords should always be changed to something new, complicated, and secure.
Most of us are now familiar with the phrases “Hey Alexa!” and “Ok Google!” which are used to activate home assistants. These phrases also represent a security risk and are the weak point in your network defenses. With them, a home invader might suddenly have access to your home devices. As with security systems, changing the default password to something unique that is known only to your family would be prudent.
Laptops and Tablets
In recent years, there have been growing numbers of employees working remotely. With the current pandemic, this number has grown significantly, and those who never anticipated working from home are now doing so. This can prove incredibly risky for your company in a variety of ways through non-secure Wi-Fi networks, vulnerable remote desktop software, or personal devices that may have been infected.
When you have employees working remotely, they should be using company-controlled and monitored devices, with all activity being done over a VPN. The employee should set up a separate network exclusively for work, which is protected by a firewall and antivirus. As an additional safeguard, they should have strong passwords and two-factor authentication on their business accounts.
Those with smart devices in the home might also want to consider putting them on a separate network, even if they are not working remotely, to protect their personal information.
Maintaining a secure home network has always been a concern, but with the advent of the IoT and increasing numbers of remote workers, it has become more important than ever. Be sure to always err on the side of caution to protect your personal information and your business data.
Every business should assume they have either been attacked, are being attacked, or will be attacked. Fast detection and swift response are the small business owner’s only defense.
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