Home / Making smart devices smarter: Boosting security and connecting without consequences

Making smart devices smarter: Boosting security and connecting without consequences

BY SJONES83 – OCTOBER 18, 2021

Convenience and efficiency are easily attained when wifi-capable devices are implemented. For example, countless connected tools support productivity with ease at the modern workplace: from TVs to computers, registers to card scanners, and even breakroom refrigerators.  

However, it is important to note that this “interconnectedness” of numerous devices — handy though it may be — also provides a pathway for hackers if left unsecured. Jumping from the  smart-fridge (full of snacks) to the work laptop (full of sensitive documents) is no insurmountable leap for a seasoned cybercriminal. 

The web of connections between your numerous devices, called the “Internet of Things” (IoT), may feel too complex to detangle. Luckily, securing them can be quite simple and straightforward, avoiding unnecessary hassle! The following tips will assist you in following the golden rule: If you connect it, protect it!

  1. Use two-factor authentication. Relying solely on a strong password is the bare minimum — go the extra mile with two-factor authentication, where a user is only able to log in after presenting two (or more, if preferred) pieces of identifying evidence. For example, before you can log into your MyASU portal, you must first provide your secure password, as well as confirm your identity via the DUO app on your phone. This material approach confirms it's really you, providing an additional layer of security against hackers.

  2. Connect with a VPN. A virtual private network, or VPN, offers a layer of armor when utilizing public wifi networks, which are often insecure and easily accessible for bad actors seeking to steal login information and personal data. Browse a list of VPN technologies permitted on the ASU network to ensure you invest in one suitable for on-campus use!

  3. Reset factory passwords. Default passwords can be easy to guess if the password is simply “password,” it’s time for some customizing. To ensure the strongest password possible, use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, bearing in mind that length lends strength! For more tips of creating a secure password, read "Don't pass on password protection". 

  4. Wipe old devices. After taking the time to safeguard your data, the last thing you'd want is to inadvertently hand over your sensitive information to hackers on a silver platter! In the event you plan to sell or dispose of your device, there is often a built-in factory reset function that will eradicate all data, accounts and passwords. 

Feeling empowered to protect your data? Want to learn more about device security? Visit ASU's Think! Campaign on GetProtected to read more, and refine your approach to device management for Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

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