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2020 IoT Gift Guide – Popular Tech Toys & How to Keep Them Secure

With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, the holiday season is now officially in fully swing. While stores cannot necessarily be packed to the gills full of shoppers trying to get hot deals like in years past, the online consumer world is now booming. As has been the trend for the past few years, tech toys or devices are growing in popularity as gifts for loved ones of all ages. While these IoT devices can be exciting to give and receive, it is important to understand how to secure these devices. Below we will take a look at some of the most popular IoT-enabled gifts for 2020 as well as some quick tips on how to keep these secure from cyber risks.

Home Security Doorbells

Things such as Ring Doorbells have become the next revolution in home security. These devices allow for a homeowner to have full peace of mind whether they are home or not via a camera of their own home front porch. While these devices may make people feel more safe and secure by having control of their physical homes, they do provide cyber criminals with opportunities to infiltrate their humble abodes.

Smart Thermostat

The Nest Home Thermostat is one of the most in-demand home products on the market. This is an IoT and AI gift wrapped in one and allows a user to control their home temperature from an app on their phone. This thermostat will learn a person’s preferences and adapt to them in order to set a home’s temperature to their preferred standards. While this is a great innovation in technology, following the tips outlined below will allow for security against malicious actors who are trying to hijack a family’s Internet via an unsecured IoT thermostat.

Robot Vacuums

iRobot and Roomba vacuums are some of the most popular names when it comes to these robotic home vacuums powered by the Internet of Things. Many of these devices are powered by either a button or a smartphone app in order to keep the user’s home clean and organized. While these are nice for keeping people’s homes clean whether they are there or not, they are IoT devices which can be hard to protect from cyber risks.

IoT Baby Monitors

Baby monitors can be the perfect gift for a couple of parents who are welcoming a new bundle of joy to the world soon! The new IoT-enabled iterations of these baby monitors are amazing in that they allow for parents to have not only audio, but visual monitoring of their children while they are sleeping. While this is a convenience for them to be able to see their child while they are not near them, there are very real cyber risks that bleed over into real life physical risks when malicious actors get hold of these IoT Baby Monitoring devices. Securing these devices is essential for your family’s safety.

Tips to Protect IoT Device Risks

IoT devices are particularly at risk when it comes to cybersecurity for a few reasons — for one, there is no hardwire connection as is customary with desktops and possible with laptops. On top of this, unless the device comes with an app that also updates the device itself, most of these items do not have frequently updated software. Many of these devices also have default and easily exploitable passwords. While these threats are very real and rather annoying, there are ways for you to protect your home from cyber threats.

  • Protect your WiFi Network — By having a solid foundation via strong WiFi network connections, families can be further protected from potential attack.
  • Secure devices — When possible, take all security measures available on the IoT device themselves including things like the use of complex passwords or pin in order to access the information available on such a device.
  • Disable unused features — Features such as Bluetooth or WiFi connections may not always be needed for a device’s ability to be fully functional on a consistent basis. When these sorts of features are unneeded, disable things such as microphones, Bluetooth connections, or WiFi capabilities in order to avoid allowing unwanted access to your family’s information.
  • Use two-factor authentication when possible — The use of unique and strong passwords for each device allows for stronger protections for your various Cyber Monday IoT devices. In order to even further protect your devices, take it on step further with two-factor authentication when possible. This is often an option through things like a code sent to your phone or email to double check that you are in fact who you say you are.

Being extra safe this holiday season with your IoT gifts will allow for you to feel more secure and safe during this and other seasons to come.

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