National Network to End Domestic Violence provides suggestions, guidance and resources
The Internet of Things has introduced new cybersecurity threats to our homes and our lives. For victims of domestic violence, that danger can be profoundly invasive. Taking back their privacy can be a necessary step toward safety and sanity.
Unfortunately, internet connected device makers and service providers have often prioritized being first to market with fresh functionalities. Security-by-design has not been a priority.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence has created a Technology Safety Toolkit through a grant from the Department of Justice's Office, and a Technology Safety Plan guide for survivors of domestic violence.
The NNEDV urges the following when trying to make your smart home safe again after domestic violence incidents:
Avast offers connected home security products, resources, and guidance for securing your digital life and smart home. “It’s important to remember that making your connected home and family safe is an inventory and a process and a practice – just like the physical safety of your home,” said Deepali Garg, a senior data scientist at Avast who worked on the largest study ever of global IoT devices in real people’s homes. “You don’t lock your door once and forget it. You don’t turn on the flood light in the driveway once. These things become part of your routine. Cybersecurity is the same way. And you can’t do maintenance until you understand how things work.”
Understand your router. Wireless routers are perhaps the most fundamental piece of technology required for an internet-connected house. But once our connections are established, the router is often just part of the furniture; we don’t even think about it. Malware targeted specifically at routers increased throughout 2018, yet Avast research shows that 51% of people have never logged into their router’s administration page. Open your router settings page and ensure that the SSID (or Wireless Network Name) has a unique name. Change the default admin username and password for your router.
Update ASAP always. Keep the firmware of your IoT devices updated with the latest versions and patches available. Remember, the cause for most of these updates is because a security flaw has been found and exploited in the previous version. You want to stop running that compromised version right away. Also when considering a new IoT device, take a look at its update process. Make sure it’s easy and straightforward and that you are notified when a new update is ready.