Smart homes aren’t just a futuristic fantasy––they’re reality. And while they seem like an all-in-one dream, they’re incredibly susceptible to attacks from devious hackers.
One hacker remotely raised the temperature of a house by 22º F. But other hackers have more sinister goals. In 2016, hackers attacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices to shut down several top websites.
Think about it: If these hackers get control of your smart home devices, they can manipulate your technology as they wish. The IoT is still growing, so in the future, the consequences could be deadly.
That’s why it’s crucial you take steps to protect your smart home today. Here are 5 ways to keep your smart home devices safe from hackers.
1) Change the default settings on your devices
This one seems like a no-brainer, but many smart home device owners don’t do it.
Many hackers search for default passwords online and use them to hack the devices. That means your devices’ security may already be compromised.
It’s tempting to keep the default password for convenience, but it you want to keep your devices safe, change your passwords. We recommend using a password generator like PasswordsGenerator.net. Also, consider using a password manager like LastPass to keep all your passwords in one place.
But passwords aren’t the only things you’ll want to change. It’s also a good idea to change your device names or IDs so hackers can’t easily identify them and target them.
2) Protect your networks
Securing your devices but not your networks is like building a brick house on a paper-thin foundation. You want to make it as difficult as possible for hackers to infiltrate your home, and that starts by protecting your network.
First, review the security features your current network has. Ideally, you should have WPA2 encryption and a firewall. You may also want to create a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Second, consider connecting your smart home devices directly to your router instead of using Wi-Fi. This creates another layer of protection that helps you protect your smart home.
Third, you can create a separate network for your smart home devices. Your main devices, like phones and laptops, go on one network, while the smart home tech goes on another. If both of these networks are protected, encrypted, and difficult to identify, this can make it harder for hackers to get through.
If you’re unsure about the security features you already have, contact your Internet provider. They should also be able to help you determine if additional security features are right for your smart home.
It also helps to understand how your various devices are secured. Here’s a fantastic CNET article that goes over how some of the most popular smart home devices are protected.
3) Buy from reputable companies
There are many reasons to buy from companies with a great track record. You get a higher quality product, and, yes, you can better protect your smart home.
In that 2016 smart home hack, most of the breached devices came from Chinese tech manufacturer Xiongmai. While no smart home device is perfect in every way, the bigger brands like Apple are doing more to keep smart home technology safe.
It may not be as inexpensive to buy from a well-known brand, but it will be a more secure choice for you and your family.
4) Keep everything updated
You might be able to get away with using that old laptop with Windows XP, but you absolutely need to update your smart home devices as often as possible. Many device updates include safety enhancements that make your technology more secure.
Your devices may update automatically, but most likely, you’ll need to check manually or turn on notifications. We recommend checking every two weeks or so.
5) Use only what you need to, when you need it
Some smart home devices come equipped with extra features like microphones and webcams. You may not need to use all of these features, and if you don’t, make sure they’re turned off.
The more connected your devices are, the easier it is for hackers to find them. One of the best ways to protect your smart home is to closely monitor the use of your devices and make sure any unnecessary features are not being used.
And even though it’s convenient to leave everything on all the time, consider turning off some of your devices when you’re not using them.
When it comes to securing your smart home devices, better safe than sorry. You need to exercise as much caution as possible and be proactive with security check-ups. A good rule of thumb is to assume your devices will be breached and take steps to prevent that from happening. Use these 5 steps to make protecting your smart home a priority.