This holiday season, we published a buying guide for “smart toys,” as well as steps you could take to secure them once they were home. As we start the new year, it’s a good time to revisit Holiday DDoS Attacks: Targeting Gamers (Plus Five Things You Can Do). Last year Ryan Polk wrote, “gaming networks are most often targeted by DDoS attacks, as the end of year holidays usually bring many users online who are eager to try out their new games and systems.” He included the following helpful tips.
Five actions to protect your devices from becoming bots:
- Create and use strong passwords for all your devices. Do not use the default. This is especially important for smart devices, routers, and other devices with which you may not interact directly.
- Update your devices! Software is often patched to remove known vulnerabilities, greatly strengthening your defenses.
- Monitor your devices. If a device is acting strangely, investigate it. One example is bounced email messages. If email messages are not reaching their destination, your device could be infected and sending spam as a part of a botnet.
- Run anti-virus scans and use other security tools to find and remove malicious software.
- Be careful to avoid infecting your devices. Avoid opening suspicious emails, attachments, or risky websites. Some anti-malware services include website security checks.
For more information on strong passwords and how to create them, see the How-to-Geek article How to Create a Strong Password (and Remember It).
Want to do even more? Create a device white list for your router. With a white list, only the devices with approved MAC addresses are be able to use your network. For other advanced tips on how to better protect your home network, and the devices on it, see the Tom’s Guide article How to Secure Your (Easily Hackable) Smart Home.
You can also read the Internet Society’s policy brief on IoT.