Do you trust smart devices to secure your home? As Internet of Things (IoT) technologies have evolved, hordes of homeowners have welcomed into their houses various smart home devices such as door locks, televisions, thermostats, home monitors, cameras, lights, speakers and appliances.
All of these devices can be accessed through a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even a game console. Essentially, these smart devices make home security a breeze for homeowners, allowing them to control devices without needing to be physically present.
With these devices installed in their homes, users can connect them via apps on their phones and monitor a situation no matter where they are, as long as they have an internet connection.
As handy and smart as these devices are, they can fall prey to hacking attacks. This means that users’ private information will be exposed to predators if these devices are not properly secured.
Potentially risky business
Perhaps the most alarming part of maintaining smart home devices is the potential invasion of privacy. Smart cameras can monitor your home in your absence, but these devices can also be used as entry points for hackers to keep track of everything you do.
We’ve all heard the reports of cybercriminals hijacking baby monitors and spying on people with webcams. Similarly, audio devices such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa keep track of your preferences, arrange your schedules, and record everything you say, which is fine until there’s a security breach.
Smart door locks and alarms can also make homeowners feel safe and secure, but we all need to ramp up our cybersecurity efforts. A home should be a safe place, and the purpose of having smart home technology is to make it safer. That’s why knowing how to protect your smart devices from hackers and digital attacks is crucial.
Investing in well-known smart home device brands is a must. Why would you compromise your home’s security with cheap, off-brand devices when you can rely on the trusted quality of popular brands?
However, this doesn’t mean that you can become complacent, even with the most top-rated smart devices installed in your home. You must still perform routine checks to not only ensure that your devices are working properly but also that nobody outside of your household has access to them.
Opening the front door to better home security
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure that the smart devices installed at your home deliver top-notch security:
- Use strong and unique passwords.
Avoid using generic passwords that cybercriminals can easily guess. Also, avoid recycling the same passwords across various websites. Finally, keep a copy of your passwords, and remember where you store them. If this seems like too onerous a task, then a reliable password manager can handle the task.
- Always change default settings.
These settings help you get started and well-acquainted with your smart devices. However, because they’re set up by the manufacturer, they’re more vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks.. Change these settings (and ensure they’re unique) in order to add protection to your smart home devices.
- Set up two-step verification or two-factor authentication.
This includes a one-time code sent to your smartphone or email for double protection. Hackers will find it more challenging to penetrate your devices when they’re unable to access the other devices used for the added security.
- Change settings from “always on” to “sometimes off,” especially when you’re not using certain devices.
This applies to digital assistants which were granted permissions for third-party apps upon installation. Remember to enable access to features you need and disable the ones that are unnecessary. This is a crucial step, especially if you don’t want strangers listening to your private conversations.
- Update your devices and apps.
These updates fix the security flaws that the manufacturer found in previous versions. By downloading these updates, users will be better equipped to fend off digital attacks.
Be wary of devices that offer no updates or that can’t be updated because if they were to become vulnerable at some point, the manufacturer would be unable to remedy the problem.
- Secure your WiFi.
Securing your WiFi is crucial since mountains of user data (and its security credentials) are stored in home networks. Think of a WiFi router like the front door to your smart home: It’s the foundation that connects all your devices and makes them functional.
In order to secure your WiFi, you can rename your router, use a strong encryption method, install a firewall, and set up a guest network to keep your account completely private.
- Keep track of the devices on your home network.
It’s also a good idea to check how many devices are connected to your network and ensure that you recognize all of them.
Smart and safe at home
Smart home devices have made our lives easier and more enjoyable, but they’re not without their security risks. That’s why it’s so important to research a device’s pros and cons and manufacturer’s warranty, as well as users feedback before purchasing and installation. Sounds like a smart move to us.
- How to Secure Smart Home Devices in 5 Steps (iotevolutionworld.com)
- Security Archives – IoT Innovator
- How secure are your smart home devices? | BBC Science Focus Magazine
- How secure are your smart home devices? | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)
- The 5 Biggest Smart Home Security Risks and How to Prevent Them (makeuseof.com)
- How To Secure Your Smart Home & Connected Devices – YouTube
- 8 ways to improve security on smart home devices | Malwarebytes Labs
- 12 tips to secure your smart home and IoT devices (norton.com)