October 24, 2020

Securely Configure Your New Internet-Enabled Device – Here’s How!

3 min read

Did you know that all devices that are connected to the digital grid are vulnerable to hacks and cyber-attacks? Hackers with malicious intent are always on the lookout for ways to access your personal data.

The consequences can be dire. Therefore, it is essential to securely configure all your new devices to ensure that they stay protected from all potential threats.

Read on to learn how your devices access the internet and how to keep it safe!

How Do Devices Connect To The Internet

The IANA, aka Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, is responsible for allocating and assigning addresses. To avoid conflicts with public IPs, it has kept aside specific private IP addresses for devices to connect to the internet.

For example, your router might have a 192.168.10.1 IP address, aka its default gateway. This IP can also be used to change its settings.

Otherwise, it’s private IP address may fall within these four ranges:

  • 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255
  • 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255
  • 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255
  • 100.64.0.0 to 100.127.255.255

Now let’s figure out how you can keep this IP address away from the prying eyes of malicious individuals.

6 Ways To Strengthen Device Security

  1. Change Default Settings And Passwords

Device authentication, in most cases, is done via a username and password, and these usually come assigned by the manufacturer. So all devices in a series have the same credentials by default.

That’s dangerous because anyone can guess your username and password and gain access.

For instance, your Wi-Fi device may have a 192.168.10.1 gateway, and the credentials assigned to access the admin panel are admin/admin. Such pre-assigned passwords can be found online.

Therefore, change the default factory-assigned password to something unique that no one can think of or search for.

  1. Encrypt The Wi-Fi Network

A cybercriminal first has to access your Wi-Fi to reach your phone, webcam, and or other connected devices.

So make sure it’s safeguarded by a WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access Three) encryption — currently, it’s the most robust encryption method. Even if the wrong person gets to access your digital activity, whatever info they gathered would be meaningless to them because it’d be encrypted.

  1. Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

This involves putting another layer of protection on your device, in addition to the username/password model.

There are plenty of applications available on Android and iOS that allow you to use 2FA. These can send out verification codes via SMS, make verification calls, or require the entry of a security code before they let you access an account or app.

  1. Disable Unused Connectivity Options 

Phones, laptops, and other internet-enabled gadgets have various ways of leaving a footprint and connecting to other devices. These include location services, Bluetooth connectivity, NFS, to mention a few.

Make sure that these connectivity options remain switched off when you aren’t using them.

  1. Configure A Firewall 

Most new-age Wi-Fi devices come with a built-in firewall that can be turned off by default. Apart from WPA3 encryption, you can further reinforce security by activating firewalls that include features like — web-filtering, parental controls, accessibility controls— all viable defenses against DoS attacks.

Simply open a browser, type http://192.168.10.1 or the default gateway of your device, and check the firewall settings from the admin console.

Additionally, install firewalls on all internet-enabled devices if possible. By default, all new operating systems feature their own firewalls; for instance, the Windows Defender that comes packaged with  Windows OS.

  1. Run Updates As They Launch

Manufacturers are always on the lookout for any potential vulnerability in their devices, and they offer regular software updates to enhance security. Make sure your device is updated with these security patches for safer functionality.

Run these updates as they appear. In fact, you can check the box where it says automatic updates, so your device automatically installs new updates as and when they become available.

Key Takeaway

Our devices are becoming more capable and complicated, and so are the capabilities of hackers. This makes it all the more important to invest in better, more efficient technologies.

Once connected to the internet, these devices are under a constant threat of being hacked, and our personal information can fall into the wrong hands if we don’t ensure its safety early on.

Therefore enhance your security by taking the steps as mentioned above.