Quick Tip: Warning about internet-connected devices, toys

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone via WLS logo
Thursday, December 27, 2018
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There's a new warning about internet connected devices, also called IoT devices, from the National Cyber Security Alliance.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Here's a Quick Tip about those high-tech holiday gifts under the tree.

You may have gotten an Internet connected device or Internet connected toy or a present, also known as Internet of Things, or IoT, devices.

There is now a warning about these IoT devices from the National Cyber Security Alliance. You should make sure you are fighting against hackers who are trying to compromise them and invade your privacy.

You should update all of your software on these devices and toys when you set it up and continue updates regularly. Also use additional sign in authentication when you can, double check your WiFi at home and make sure it is locked and secure with a strong password.

Finally, you should know what the smart devices are collecting, where it's stored and how long that information is being kept.

The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends following these tips to enjoy the countless benefits of new cutting-edge tech with more peace of mind:

Update Now: So tempting to ignore, the number one thing consumers can do to protect their devices is to make sure they are up to date. Depending on how long they may have sat on the retail shelf, there could be one or more system and software updates to download before using for the first time that will improve both the security and experience for these new devices. NCSA has worked with Intel and Microsoft to develop new consumer resources on addressing the critical importance of updates. Visit https://staysafeonline.org/updatemeow/ to learn more.

Pay attention to the WiFi router in your home: Routers are likely the access points for many IoT devices to the internet. Use a strong password to protect your router, keep it up to date and name it in a way that won't let people know it's in your house.

Lock down your login: Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

Learn how to maintain the cybersecurity of your IoT devices: Protecting smart devices like wearables, toys and connected appliances might be different than securing your computer or smartphone. Research the process for keeping IoT devices secure, make sure that you know how your data is being used on new connected devices and take extra measures (like assigning new passwords) to safeguard your devices over time.

Own your online presence: Understand what information your devices collect and how it's managed and stored. Additionally, before adopting a new smart device, do your research to make sure others have had positive experiences from a security and privacy perspective.