It's important learn how to secure your smart home devices because security breaches in smart homes are on the rise, and it's not just about consumers.
A cyber breach in a home automation system can be fatal, such as when an unauthorized person can insert malware into an electrical grid that controls power plants and substations.
A smart thermostat with bad security could be exploited to turn off the heat during winter, causing injury or even death to humans and animals alike.
Here are ten tips for securing your home's automated services:
Use a strong password
One way is by using a strong, unique password. The device should force you to set a secure password before it activates and connect to the internet.
Some devices come shipped with a default password that is not difficult to guess or crack. An unauthorized person can easily find the default password online or by simple trial and error so, change it to something complex.
Further, always use the login on your device when you are away from home, just in case someone comes into your home while you aren't there.
That will curb unauthorized users from accessing your smart home while away from home.
Consider a smart firewall
If you have access to one, you should think about implementing something like a smart firewall for extra protection.
That can help block traffic from unauthorized people trying to get into your smart home security system or monitor your ISP activity.
Disable the guest network on your smartphone
As much as you want to control the temperature in your house remotely, unapproved guests should not be able to access your thermostat or other smart devices.
If a guest tries to access your internet-connected thermostat and tries to change the temperature, you will have an easy way of tracking down the culprit.
Also, unused or rarely used devices should be removed from the list to prevent fake smart home access. Further, you can use a virtual PIN code to lock down access to your smart hub when you are not at home.
Change default usernames
There are many default usernames for smart home devices so, be sure to change the username of your device by going into the settings.
That will prevent an unauthorized person from simply connecting to your device and changing the settings.
Don't Use Free Cloud Storage
This is because most of these services offer free storage, which means they are always looking for ways to make money with their customers' data. That can lead companies to sell your information or embed ads into their storage solutions.
The ideal solution is to use external storage like portable hard drives if you need a backup solution and store them in a secure location away from prying eyes.
You should also research security features such as two-factor authentication and encryption provided by professional cloud storage services.
Check for updates
Most home automation products come with app support that can update them with just a couple of button pushes.
If you ignore these, you're running the risk of your home being compromised.
Make sure you check this feature often and pay attention to any status updates that your app gives.
An update will come through immediately, but it can take up to 48 hours for the old version of the application to be uninstalled from the server.
Thus, if your device is compromised, you want to be sure that you know about this as quickly as possible.
On top of making sure that updates are installed promptly, make sure they're compatible with the version of the server or appliance you're using.
The application developers recommend making sure your Internet service provider has up-to-date security patches as well.
Keeping your router up-to-date automatically updates it with the latest security patches so that malicious software will not be able to cause harm by exploiting vulnerabilities in older firmware revisions.
That is especially important if you are connected to an open Wi-Fi network that you do not control.
Keep Your Smart Home Setup a Secret
Most smart home devices don't come with strong encryption, so it's easy for unauthorized people to access them and trace the signals back to your house.
The ideal way to curb that is by keeping your smart home setup a secret. Avoid posting about it on Facebook or even talking about it with people in real life.
This way, if someone does get into your system or finds out how you operate it, they won't be able to find out where you live easily.
You should also try not to use email addresses or phone numbers associated with you in any of the apps used to operate your smart home.
Use Multiple Smart Home Devices
Security is only as good as the weakest link in your system.
The more smart home devices you use, the more secure they will be. Modern IP cameras work like an intercom system and have multiple functions, including video surveillance and wireless doorbells.
It's a good idea to have at least two wired smart doorbells and at least one wireless camera for maximum protection.
Also, consider adding an in-home hub for remote control of your devices.
Hubs are harder to access because they are designed for security and provide extra functionality beyond just controlling settings on your devices.
Use the right ports
When it comes to smart devices, a common mistake is to plug them into the wrong ports on their router or hub.
This can lead to your home becoming vulnerable because any unauthorized person who gets in can access all of the devices connected to that particular hub or router by exploiting an open port.
Carefully select smart home apps
Not all smart home apps are safe and secure.
When setting up a few smart home gadgets, you want to be sure that they are safe from vulnerabilities such as malware or unauthorized people who may look for backdoors within them to gain access.
You can research online to see if a smart device has been reported to have any vulnerabilities in the past.
Securing a smart home is about protecting the devices you use and securing them as much as possible so that you can have peace of mind that what's happening in your home is happening.
That also extends beyond your own devices - anyone who has access to them can also gain access to all of the information you have on your online account as well.
The Bottom line
Now you know how to secure your smart home devices and prevent unauthorized access from other people. Technology is good but it's important to keep everything working safely to protect your privacy and assets.
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