On October 21, 2016, there was a cyberattack that made Twitter, Netflix, PayPal and many other websites unavailable. The attacks came from “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices that were infected with malware.

IoT devices are everyday household items that are connected to the Internet. IoT devices can include: wireless routers, webcams, lights, power outlets, remote controls, speakers, coffee machines and even thermostats (like Nest).

The problem with more devices being connected to the Internet is that they can get hacked into and made to attack websites or Internet services and systems. The solution is to keep things as simple as possible: ask yourself if you really need that smart fridge or if a regular one will do.

For the IoT devices (especially your wireless router) that you already have or must have, here are several tips for keeping them secure:
• Change the default password
• Regularly apply updates, for those which don’t automatically update
• Register your device so you can be notified of recalls

I was interviewed by the Columbian about the local impact of the cyberattack. You can read about it here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2016/oct/21/cyberattacks-disrupt-internet-services/