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7 Ways to Keep Your Information Safe with Smart Devices

All of our connected devices open up a world of opportunity. While most of that opportunity is positive – like convenience, time saving and entertainment – there’s also opportunity for abuse. Each connected device that we own is a gateway to our personal information. But don’t worry, there are ways to combat the negative and take steps to keep your personal information secure. Here are seven ways to stay safe with your smart devices:

Set boundaries

It is important to take control and set boundaries around the kind and amount of information that you are comfortable sharing. Smart devices are always collecting data, so it is important to know what is being gathered and shared. You can customize the share settings to your comfort level. Most companies offer privacy settings, you just have to dig around to find them.

Understand and know what your devices are doing

Know your devices and what they do. Your voice-controlled assistant and fitness tracker collect more information than you might think. If this makes you uncomfortable, check to see whether your device’s microphone and location tracking settings are enabled. You can also look for information on how your data is shared.

Be selective when buying a device

The kind of connected devices you buy (if you buy any at all) is another thing to keep in mind. Some consumers don’t feel the need to buy into connected devices because the trade-off for breaching their privacy isn’t worth it. Do your research and shop for devices selectively.

Secure your home network

Name your WiFi network wisely. Avoid any information like names or addresses that give an idea of who you are or where you live. Don’t rely on the manufacturer default name either. This can tell hackers the exact make and model of your modem and they can find the vulnerabilities with it. Likewise, choose strong passwords for your network.

If your router allows you to create a second network for your smart devices, do it. Keeping your smart devices and other personal devices separate helps keep information safe if one network is hacked.

Consider disconnecting devices

Perhaps your smart device has connectivity capabilities but those functions don’t truly serve you. For example, maybe you have a smart washer and dryer, but you are okay with using them without having them connected. Turn the connectivity off. Disconnecting this capability is one less channel for a hacker to get into.

Update your devices regularly

Companies continually roll out security updates. Make sure to stay on top of them. It’s as simple as that.

Know how companies make money from your information

It’s a good idea to research how certain companies and platforms monetize your information. For example, Facebook is free to use, but it monetizes user information. Whereas, Apple has high-ticket devices, but the price reflects that it is monetizing the product and not user information. To stay safe, make sure there’s a reason that companies want to protect your privacy.

It’s important to look beyond how cool IoT devices are, and to understand the purpose that they hold in your life. You do not need to be a cybersecurity expert to be safe, but having a base knowledge about your devices, platforms you use and their purposes will help increase your security.

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