From smartphones to smart homes, internet of things (IoT) devices have become an essential part of our daily routines. However, this interconnectedness comes with significant risks. Cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities of both private and professional devices to get unauthorized access to personal and business data in home networks. Shannon Miller, the security guest speaker of the previous Tresorit webinar, has first-hand cases up her sleeve about this and shares them in the new episode of the Tresorit “under CTRL” podcast.
There are many ways, cybercriminals can invade your privacy, and at the same time gain from digital valuables of your household and the company you work for. Understanding motives and strategies of cybercriminals helps identify effective measures for hybrid yet secure workspace environments. Let’s take a glimpse into cybercriminals’ grey matter with this post and our podcast featuring security consultant and private investigator Shannon Miller.
Motives of Cybercriminals
Cybercriminals have various motives for attacking IoT devices, including financial gain, data theft, and espionage. The surge in use of connected technologies at home – smart speakers, thermostats, and security cameras to name but a few – often exposes a user to potential threats, making them easy targets for cybercriminals. They can exploit devices to steal sensitive information, such as passwords and financial data, or use these end points as a gateway to access other devices on the network.
Another goal of cybercriminals carrying out attacks on home networks, such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), is exploiting the processing power of compromised IoT devices that become parts of a decentralized criminal botnet. These attacks can disrupt internet services and be used to hack into even more devices on your home network, stealing sensitive data or causing other significant damage to individuals and businesses.
5 Steps to Protect Your Hybrid Workplace
To protect your home network from cybercriminals, you should take the following five easy steps:
- Secure your network by changing the default passwords and usernames on your IoT devices, and ensure that they are connected to a secure Wi-Fi network with a strong password.
- Keep all devices updated: It’s important to take this measure on a regular basis. Your IoT devices’ firmware and software needs updating to fix known vulnerabilities and strengthen security features.
- Use a firewall: Install a firewall to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and block unauthorized access to your network. It’s not just about the use of your devices and network but also your company’s if you work from home. Make sure to be aligned with the policies of the company you work for and its IT admin guidelines.
- Enable two-step verification: Enable 2-step verification on all your accounts, including IoT devices, to add an extra layer of security.
- Be vigilant: Regularly monitor your network for suspicious activity and report any suspected breaches to your device manufacturer or service provider.
Additional Security for Hybrid Work-Life Balance
The use of IoT devices is still increasing. While these devices can improve productivity and efficiency, they also pose new interconnected security risks in both personal and business settings. To protect hybrid work life, you can consider additional measures. Separating networks for personal and work devices reduces the risk of cross-contamination. It might prevent cybercriminals from accessing your work devices through your personal IoT devices.
What’s more, organizations should develop and implement security policies for IoT device usage in the workplace. This should include guidelines for device selection, security configuration, and employee training. Once you educate employees on the risks of IoT devices and how to protect their sensitive personal and work information from cyberattacks, you create awareness and prevent data breaches in home networks.
Proactivity Is Key
On the one hand the use of IoT devices has become increasingly prevalent, posing significant risks to our privacy, but on the other hand it boosts our productivity at home and on the go. Comprehensive security practices are key when working from home. To protect our networks and prevent criminal botnets, we need to take proactive steps to secure our IoT devices and remain vigilant for suspicious activity.
In a hybrid work environment, we need to implement security policies, educate employees, and maybe even use separate networks to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. By following the guidelines above, you can protect valuable information from cybercriminals and enjoy the benefits of IoT technology and remote work safely.
Listen to Tresorit’s Stefan Killer-Haug and his guest speaker Shannon Miller talk about the strategies of home-invading cybercriminals and how to protect against them.