Technology

CTA Puts Focus on Securing Connected Devices With New Online Tool

By / Mar 24, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

With security becoming an increasingly important element of the Internet of Things, the Consumer Technology Association is ready to assist with its new Connected Home Security Checklist Tool, which aims to encourage security during the installation process.

Last year, a decent-sized chunk of the internet was briefly taken down by an apparent botnet of connected devices. In other words, the Internet of Things (IoT) had turned on its host.

That state of affairs introduced a whole host of questions about security, most of which have been directed at manufacturers and security experts. But where do regular users come into play for these kinds of security concerns? That’s a good question, and the Consumer Technology Association is ready with a useful answer.

This week, CTA announced the launch of its Connected Home Security Checklist Tool, which focuses on teaching consumers and those installing smart-home equipment the importance of security when installing connected tools like light switches, thermostats, appliances, or security systems.

The tool is based on “Recommended Best Practices for Securing Home Systems” [PDF], a guide produced by CTA’s TechHome Division. The guide discusses the considerations and risks that come with common home technologies such as networking tools, Bluetooth, virtual private networks, Z-Wave, and near field communication.

The guide, early on, speaks to the importance of username and password security when working with IoT devices.

“Always change default usernames and passwords,” the guide states. “Never leave the ‘factory default’ password. Also, changing the ‘factory default’ username increases the difficulty of hacking a router.”

Melissa Andresko, the chair of TechHome, emphasized that the best way to prevent problems is by stopping them before they start. The checklist, which she says is “the first-ever tool designed by installers, for installers,” is meant to help facilitate that.

“Good cybersecurity practices are critical at the installer level—one of the first lines of defense against security breaches,” Andresko, the communications director at Lutron Electronics, said in a news release.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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