Fighting Cyber Threats - the Internet of Things

Date: October 06, 2017

3rd in a series to help small business owners grow and protect their businesses in the age of cyber threats and digital piracy

Guest column by fellow NFIB member Allen Perk, owner of XLN Systems.

Our 3rd article explains, as an introduction, IoT – The Internet of Things, and is directed not only to small business but to all of us who use the Internet.

The Internet is everywhere and the Internet is doing more things for more people than ever before.   One reason for this is the IoT.  One formal description of IoT is “The ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems”.

Whew.  Did you get that?  I like my description better: IoT are all those devices we put on the Internet like household lights, garage door openers, Televisions, home security cameras, our refrigerators and more!

Although these things may make our lives better, they can be hacked from a security standpoint.  You see, each of these ‘things’ come with an Internet Address, much like your PC, laptop and company server.  Hence, they can be “broken into” and used to get to your important files on the other parts of your network.

What can you do to help lock down these ‘things” and make it more secure?

Harken back to my 1st article and learn how to set up a separate network just for the IoT.  This can be done by you or better yet, find a reputable small IT company and have them configure your router to set up both a network for your IoT and a separate network for your PC’s and Servers.

A second action you can do is to change the default password for each of your IoT because the default password for these ‘things’ is available to most anyone using, yes, the Internet.  Recall that strong passwords should be 15 characters or more and can be a phrase like, “TheSkyIsBeautiful” or “No1isAllowedinButMe!”

Separating your IoT network from your normal PC network will increase your IT security and give you a little more peace of mind.

The above views and comments are those of XLN SYSTEMS.  Allen Perk is the owner of XLN SYSTEMS, a software and network security company he has owned since 1991.  Allen is a 15-year member of NFIB who regularly attends its State Board meetings and is Chair of the Central Ohio AAC.   Allen also serves on the Ohio Attorney General’s Cyber Security Advisory Board.

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