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Your Fridge and Your Laptop Should Not be on the Same Network: FBI

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Internet of Things has helped to enhance the connected lifestyle, but it also created new attack vectors for hackers. Many security pros cautioned earlier that IoT devices have become a primary target for cybercriminals.

In its tech advice, the FBI recommended IoT users to isolate their primary connected devices like laptops or smartphones on a separate WiFi or LAN network.

“Your fridge and your laptop should not be on the same network,” FBI said in a post.

FBI advised to use two internet gateways. One for the devices that store sensitive data and another for digital assistants like home security devices, smartwatches, gaming systems, fitness trackers, thermostats, and smart light bulbs, etc., It also recommended to change factory-set default passwords.

What’s the Risk?

According to the FBI, the potential vulnerabilities in IoT devices allow hackers a path into a router network, giving access to other connected devices on a home network. Keeping separate network systems will prevent attacker intrusions to all the devices at a targeted location.

Use Micro-Segmentation

One can use two routers to place primary devices and IoT devices on separate networks. But, using “Micro-Segmentation” would be a good idea.

Micro-Segmentation is a feature available in the firmware of most WiFi routers that allows router admins to create virtual networks (VLANs), which behave as different networks even though they run on the same router. 

FBI Recommendations:

 FBI suggested the following guidelines to Build Digital Defense:

  • Change the device’s factory settings from the default password.
  • Passwords should be as long as possible and unique for IoT devices.
  • Many connected devices are supported by mobile apps on your phone. These apps could be running in the background and using default permissions that you never realized you approved. Know what kind of personal information those apps are collecting and say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense.
  • Make sure all your devices are updated regularly.

FBI also gave similar advice on dealing with smart TVs recently. Hackers can stalk users’ everyday movements and conversations using the integrated camera and microphone by exploiting the unsecured smart TVs, FBI said. 

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