As millions of employees across the world work from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, IoT security has become more critical than ever as cybercriminals look to exploit the situation.

Here are four security tips for remote workers to use when using IoT devices:

1.  Turn on security features – and use them. In many situations IoT devices have security features disabled or turned off by default in favour of ease of use. This, along with default credentials that never get changed, creates the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of an IoT device’s lack of cybersecurity. By implementing as many security features as possible on each IoT device, along with using long unique passwords, users can easily enhance the security measures of such devices.

2.  Use multi-factor authentication. When configuring an IoT device, a user should consider using two or multi-factor authentication (2FA/MFA) to access a device. Typically, these are a combination of passwords, numerical codes, or biometrics. Many people already use tools like the Google Authenticator, and other products are coming out that let workers use a smartphone to authenticate with a fingerprint or via facial recognition. By requiring two or more security controls to authenticate an identity, it adds an additional layer of protection.

3.  Read the instructions. When setting up a new IoT device, it’s imperative that users familiarise themselves with what security features are available and know of any potential risks. Also check whether any software updates are required and set the auto update feature to ensure that the latest versions are running.

4.  Shut down devices when offline. When devices are not in use, they should be completely powered off. This will help ensure they cannot be hacked or abused when left unattended. It’s not enough just to put a device into standby mode. Sometimes, users have to simply turn the power completely off to reduce the risks. It’s

especially true for any devices with a security camera. For all iPads and laptops, it’s a good idea to put a piece of tape over the camera when not in use or, having a protective cover that also covers the camera will protect the screen and the camera from taking unsuspecting photos.

While we are slowly coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown period, work-from-home will be the norm for many people for several weeks and months. And when life returns to normal, workers will find that these security tips are good life skills for the future as more IoT devices come into the home.Contact a member of the TCS for any information