The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Portland has issued a recommendation to users of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as smart speakers, smart lights and smart locks for data privacy and security purposes.

The investigation agency recommended putting such devices on a different Wi-Fi network than the one used by primary devices such as your smartphone and laptop.

“Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network. Keep your most private, sensitive data on a separate system from your other IoT devices,” the recommendation said.

But why should you do this? The reasoning is simple – if one of your smart devices gets hacked, all of your devices are not in the reach of the attacker because jumping across Wi-Fi networks while hacking requires a lot of effort.

But wouldn’t this increase the expense of getting a separate Wi-Fi network and router? Well, actually you don’t need to buy any extra device to do this.  All you need to do is 'micro-segmentation.'

You can do this by checking the firmware of your Wi-Fi router. There will be an option in the firmware called VLAN or a virtual local area network. You can create a virtual network that will work as a different network than your primary network.

FBI has also issued other instructions for securing your IoT devices, which include:

  • Changing the default factory settings of your device and setting a unique password.
  • Checking default permissions of your device for background apps and checking the ‘No’ option on permissions that don’t make sense.
  • And regularly updating your device.

The FBI regularly issues such updates. Last week, it told smart TV users to put black tape over the TV’s camera lens, which would stop it from automatically recording you.

IoT devices are more susceptible to hacking because they don’t have security updates and complex security protocols that devices such as laptops and smartphones have.

Smart Home A smart home connectivity setup is seen in this picture illustration. Photo: Pixabay