These days, you can connect practically anything in your home to your smartphone or tablet. Functions like air conditioning, heaters, lights, TVs and more can easily be controlled while at work, driving or even when you’re on vacation a thousand miles away. While this adds tons of convenience to your life, it can also make your home and any connected devices vulnerable to hacks.
The last thing you want is for some stranger to try and control the temperature in the nursery or trying to scare your sleeping child via the baby monitor! You’ll want to have a defense plan set in place so that you can secure your home just in case some random hacker attacks your home and smart devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) is comprised of all the devices and appliances used to connect your home network to the Internet, making it appealing to cybercriminals. Here are some simple steps you can take to protect your home from digital home invasion.
Have A Secure Router
The first thing you’ll want to do is to protect your router, which is considered the “front door” to your home’s network. It’s what connects your connected devices to the Internet, so it’s essential that you invest in a secure router. While many use the one that their Internet service provider gives them, there are also other options that might be more secure. Most new router models already include some type of encryption, password protection, and additional security features. Just research the different options and go with one that has many security features from a reputable manufacturer at your price point.
Give the Router A Unique Name
Once you purchase a secure router, make sure that you give it a unique network name. Don’t just use what it first came with since it may tip off cybercriminals as to the make or model. Create something that won’t give hackers any personal information that can be used against your home. It’s also a good idea to change all default administrator passwords and usernames that come with a lot of IoT devices and products.
Update Your Router with A Strong Encryption
Go into your router’s settings and use a strong encryption like a WPA2 with AES to set up your home’s Wi-Fi access. This adds another layer of security to your network!
Always Use Strong Passwords
This one is a no brainer since you should always be using strong passwords that are unique for any Wi-Fi networks, as well as your device accounts. Create complex passwords that consist of symbols, letters and numbers. This would apply to your administrator and network passwords. It goes without saying that these passwords should be different altogether.
You can also take the additional step of changing all your network passwords at least once year.
Always Keep Software Up to Date
Install all software or firmware updates on your devices, including your router, since it could be a security path for any previous flaws. This is especially true for your mobile device since your smartphone might be the hub for your entire smart home. And if your IoT devices send any updates, download them and apply them to the device as soon as possible for maximum safety.
Create a Guest Network For Your IoT Devices
Most routers can generate a guest Wi-Fi network that only allows devices on it to access the internet. This prevents devices from interacting directly within your network. What it means is that even if there’s a security vulnerability in a device on that guest WiFi network, a hacker won’t be able to use that device to access other parts of your network or other devices. If you have a router that can generate a guest network, it’s a good idea to put any IoT devices on the guest network just in case there’s any security holes.
Have Two-Step Authentication
Make your home network more secure by utilizing two-factor authentication (2FA), which will send a onetime code to your mobile device so that hackers can’t get into your accounts. Not every smart home app offers this added security, but if it does why not use it?
Don’t Use Smart Home Apps on Public Wi-Fi Networks
Try to avoid using any smartphone apps while on public Wi-Fi networks since you never know who is watching or trying to get into your network! You could use a VPN so that you’re safe no matter where you access your home network. Most smartphone apps also work using your data plan, so you won’t really need to use public Wi-Fi networks.
Upgrade Your IoT Devices
It’s smart to audit your IoT devices a few times a year to see if there’s an upgrade that might offer better security. Cyber criminals are always trying to find new vulnerabilities so stay vigilant.
Although having a smart home is supposed to make life easier, it can actually make you more vulnerable to cyber attacks. While we didn’t cover ALL the potential security measures you can take, it doesn’t take much to make your connected home more secure as long as you follow some simple steps we’ve mentioned.