How to set up new devices securely

4 minute read

Ease safety concerns by setting up your new devices securely.

  • Online devices can pose unique risks, but they can be lessened easily
  • Follow the simple checklist to ensure you’re doing everything you can to securely set up any new devices
  • Enjoy your devices, knowing you and your family are protected
From your kids getting that special present at the top of their wishlist to getting a new smartphone yourself, almost every modern electronic device can connect to the internet and other devices. 

Around a quarter (23%) of Brits own one or more smart home devices, according to a YouGov report. These range from voice-activated smart speakers to smartwatches, TVs and more. However, the same report found that hacking and cyber attacks remain the main concern around smart devices. 

Like most things, there’s a risk but this can be controlled if you know how to set up these devices in a secure way.

What are the dangers of online devices?

Devices that can be connected to the internet are vulnerable to the same hacking risks that anything online is. Your personal information can be taken, your account – potentially with payment details – hacked, or your identity could even be stolen. However, more recently these security concerns – and what people can do to minimise the risk – has become a priority for both manufacturers and users. 

How to set up your new device securely 

Hacking, data and network risks can all be greatly reduced by setting up your new device securely. There are two areas to focus on – protecting your home network and individual devices.

Protect your home network:

  • Change the router name and password – Don’t give away information such as your address in the Wi-Fi network name  
  • Disable guest access – Take a firm stance on who can access the network
  • Consider using a VPN – A virtual private network (VPN) creates a closed system from any internet connection – meaning your IP address can’t be discovered. This makes it hard for hackers to know your location and creates encrypted connections.  

Set up any new device securely:

  • Change passwords immediately – Many smart devices come with the same generic password. Change this before connecting to the internet  
  • Check your privacy settings – Review the default security settings and adjust them if necessary. You might want to restrict access to certain data or increase security levels by requiring password authentication. This can also be useful if you have young children
  • Disable unused features – Delete any unused features that come enabled as default and could pose a risk, such as remote access
  • Update regularly – Make sure the device can be updated, as manufacturers will provide patches to tackle security issues as they develop. Download updates and apply to your devices when available
  • Use two-step authentication – Set up two-step authentication where possible. It adds another layer of security to verify information before gaining access to your account. 

Data collection
Data is an important part of delivering a personalised service in the modern world. Smart devices record information to help it give you advice specific to you, such as weekly home energy usage reports or telling you the weather forecast. 

Knowing what data is collected, where it is stored and how it is used is important to make sure you’re authorising it and it’s not being misused or made vulnerable.   

Hacking risks of connected devices
The main worry of using connected online devices is their vulnerability to hacking.

It’s possible that information stored on voice-activated devices could be breached, including passwords and financial information. The same is true for smartphones, including all the information individual apps store.

Don’t let security worries ruin the fun 

While security concerns exist for any new and existing smart device, don’t let them ruin your fun. 

Set up your devices and network by considering all the appropriate security steps and consistently updating the software when prompted to protect against any new threats. Setting up new games consoles can be a particular worry for parents. Read our guide to see how to do it securely. 

This will keep the risk of a security breach low and ensure you and the family enjoy your new devices across the festive season. 

Head over to our Cyberspace to find out more about how to stay cyber safe.

 

This article contains links to other sites, and we're not responsible for the contents of any of these websites.

All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts.