Denial of service attacks have been bad for years, but the widespread infection of the Internet of Things have given bots a new power to DDoS. Don't let your smart bulbs and thermostats be part of the problem.
Here are the top 5 ways to secure your Internet of Things:
1. Keep your firmware updated. Smart devices are no different than Windows. New vulnerabilities crop up, and patches come out to fix them. If auto-update is an option, turn it on, otherwise make it your business to know you have the latest patches.
2. Change the default password. Newer devices are forcing you to choose one, but if your device doesn't, make sure "admin" or "12345" are not the passwords for your devices. Don't make it easy for the bots to get in.
3. Disable remote login. If you don't need to turn off your lights from elsewhere, then don't make that an option. A lot of smart devices benefit from things like automation. So don't leave another door into them open if you aren't even going to use it.
4. Update your router's firmware and security settings. Make sure it's using strong Wi-Fi encryption —preferably WPA or WPA2, with WPS disabled — and your router's administration page is not accessible to the Internet.
5. Secure your network with a firewall. And we mean the network the smart devices are on. Some businesses have the corporate server behind the firewall but leave the IoT devices on public WiFi.
Hopefully that will help make sure your thermostat, humidity sensors and smart locks aren't also hammering other websites with traffic. And certainly that they're only under your control.
More about IoT security:
80% of IoT apps not tested for vulnerabilities, report says
Amazon Echo murder case raises IoT privacy questions for enterprise users
Video: How the platform behind Carnival Medallion pulls off the IoT magic
CIO Jury: 50% of IT leaders will invest in IoT in 2017
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.