The rise of smart home technology has made the lives of many Americans easier and more efficient. Your Internet-connected devices, such as your TV, security cameras, smart locks, and smart thermostats, can help make your life more convenient. However, they can also make you and your home vulnerable to cyberattacks. With most of your home appliances connected to the Internet, it gives cybercriminals a new opportunity to attack you.
If you have employed home automation systems in your home that use the Internet, your home will need some extra added protection.
How A Smart Home Can Make You Vulnerable
Your IoT devices can be an avenue of attack. Cybercriminals can access these devices, get access to your data, or spy on you. They can compromise the privacy and security of your family.
Here are some examples of what a hacker can do when they gain access to your IoT network:
- Spy on you through your security cameras or webcams.
- Turn off your security cameras.
- Access your smart thermostat and figure out if no one is home.
- Listen to your conversations.
- Figure out if you have locked your doors or not, or worse, crack your lock and unlock codes.
- Turn on smart switches for your appliances when you are not home, putting your home at risk.
Smart devices installed outdoors are most vulnerable, such as garage door openers and wireless doorbells. Your network of home appliances and accessories can give hackers the information that they can use to threaten your safety and privacy. It can make you vulnerable to identity theft.
What Makes Your Smart Home Vulnerable
Unlike networks of computers, a network of home appliances and devices do not have built-in security features. Here are other reasons why your network of smart devices is vulnerable to cyberattacks:
- No system hardening
- No updating of software
- Using default passwords
How To Make Your Smart Home Devices More Secure
You do not need to be a computer whiz to employ these safety measures. They are easy to do, and they can reduce your vulnerability to hackers.
Secure your Wi-Fi network.
Make sure to change the network name and password of your Wi-Fi router. Change your network name so that it does not give a clue about your details. You can also set your Wi-Fi network to hidden so that your system is not easily visible to hackers. Set your network to hidden in your router’s settings.
To secure your personal and sensitive information, you can set up a different Wi-Fi network for your Smart Home devices. Keep the system that you use for your banking and private online transactions separate in another Wi-Fi network. This way, should a hacker find his way into one of your networks, the damage can be confined.
Change your passwords.
Using default and predictable passwords is an open invitation to hackers. Passwords are created for your security. A strong password for your Wi-Fi network is the simplest yet most effective defense you can put up. Whenever you get a new device, change its password. If you don’t, the password to your new security cameras can be just a Google search away.
Create a separate Wi-Fi network for guests.
Keep your Wi-Fi account private. Set up a separate account for guests so that you don’t have to give them the credentials for the network that you are using.
Check the settings for each smart device.
There might be settings in your IoT device that you do not need, such as remote access. Disable them as they can be another channel that hackers can take advantage of. Consider changing the default privacy and security settings of each IoT device that you have. These default settings are more beneficial to the manufacturer than to you.
Employ two-step authentication.
Two-factor or two-step authentication can help make your devices and network more secure. A simple two-step authentication involves sending a one-time code to your mobile phone. If your device has this feature, use it to keep malicious hackers at bay.
Register your device with the manufacturer.
Registering your device correctly allows you to receive software updates that are meant to fix bugs and security issues. One thing that you should remember is to be mindful of granting permissions to apps that you use. Do not allow access to some features that you do not need.
Unplug devices that are not in use.
Unplug the devices that you do not need to be active whenever you leave home for days, or even for work. It will save you energy, plus, unplugged devices are inaccessible to hackers. For example, you might leave your security cameras on but unplug your smart speakers.
Do not forget to factory reset devices when you replace them.
Remember to remove all your data in your smart devices when you decide to throw them or give them away. If you do not perform a factory reset, the next owner will have access to your information.
Your security and privacy are personal matters. Cyber-threats are real, and they are more dangerous than you think. Take charge of your security and be vigilant. Be proactive and ensure the safety and privacy of your family. You can begin by ensuring that your home automation network is protected from possible cyberattacks.