If, like millions of people around the globe, you’ve been buying a variety of internet-enabled devices for your home, such as lighting, garage doors, kitchen appliances, sound systems, security cameras and the like, you probably find that the tech is fun and effective to use and can save you time in the long run.
However, as with any time that a large number of consumers start investing in certain types of technology, hackers soon follow suit. As such, cybercriminals and even traditional home thieves are now constantly looking for ways to take advantage of the holes in security that arise with internet-enabled devices. Keep in mind that this isn’t just about breaking into online info; hackers also use smart home devices to break into homes physically.
How to Keep Hackers out of Your Smart Home
To keep hackers out of your home as best as possible, you must be proactive and take steps to make it challenging for them to break in. Read on for some ways you can go about doing this today.
Buy Quality Smart Home Products
Buy quality smart home products to begin with will help to keep hackers at bay. While there are hundreds of brands producing internet-enabled devices now, they’re not all created equal. The tried and true brands that have built up a good reputation over the years usually take security more seriously and are therefore worth spending a little bit more money on.
Well-regarded brands, simply because they have more light shone on them and more of a reputation to uphold, typically think about security more when designing and manufacturing their devices. On top of that, they often do more updates to plug security gaps that arise over time.
Don’t Leave Default Settings
Next, you don’t want to leave the settings that come pre-installed on products by the manufacturers. Brands have default usernames and passwords on their gadgets. They note in instruction manuals to change these details once you get devices home, but many people either don’t read this information or don’t follow the recommendation. By doing so, they leave themselves more open to a hacker’s attack.
Cybercriminals realize the way things are done, so if they scan devices in your area or break in remotely via an app or other avenue and see a particular username popping up, they’ll know you haven’t made updates. In turn, this will make them more likely to target your smart home. If they try the default username and password, they may get into your system first try.
Put Hard-to-crack Passwords in Place
One simple yet effective thing to do to keep hackers out of your information is put hard-to-crack passwords in place. These should be used on your smart-home products, Wi-Fi router, and on your smartphone or tablet or other devices you use to control smart home gadgets (i.e. through apps).
Proper passwords are a decent length (twelve or more characters is best) and made up of a variety of things, like numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters and symbols.
Install a Home Network Security Device
To further increase security, install a smart device manager in your home. This kind of home network security is helpful because it provides protection against cyber-attacks for internet-connected devices like smart TVs, appliances, gaming consoles etc.
There are many great plug-and-protect products on the market these days which will give you full control of your network and smart gadgets, instant threat notifications if someone tries to hack in and the ability to disconnect certain devices from your Wi-Fi network. These kinds of security devices provide firewall and virus protection and block malicious websites and files, too. They will also help to stop people gaining access to your files via your WiFi.
Set up a Guest Network for Visitors
If people visit your home, whether for meetings, to stay or to complete work on your property, and they need access to your internet or to smart product unlock codes, it’s wise to set up separate guest networks. That way, people won’t find out your personal passcodes to smart devices or Wi-Fi, and you can change the guest passwords you give them as soon as they leave.
Be Careful Where You Control Smart Home Products
Another tip is to be careful about where you choose to control your smart home products. That is, if you use apps on your smartphone or tablet to switch on or off locks, lights, cameras or other functions while you’re out, you don’t want to do this from a public internet network. This kind of Wi-Fi isn’t secure, so shouldn’t be used for any tasks which have you logging into accounts.