Smart homes have become an integral component of modern lifestyle, and commanding your refrigerator to add milk to its digital grocery list has become the norm.
Smart homes provide incredible efficiency and convenience. Apps on your smartphone allow you to control lights and thermostats. Alexa, a virtual assistant can even be at your service! However, as with any new technology it's important to weigh the risks against its benefits before taking steps to ensure your smart house does not turn against you.
Recent headlines have exposed the vulnerabilities of smart technology. One such article from New York Post entitled, "Locked out & Hacked", entitled, "When Smart Homes Turn Against Their Owners", provides one example.
This article details nightmares associated with smart homes. In particular, this story tells of one new owner being unexpectedly locked out due to settings preprogrammed by previous owners - his home suddenly told him at 11:15pm it was time for bed and locked all doors before locking itself off at night!
One woman reported being terrorized at home by lights and noises coming from smart technology that her former partner had been misusing maliciously.
How can you protect your home and privacy in an age where smart homes become the norm? Join us as we identify key strategies for keeping them that way.
1. Protect Your Network
Network security is of utmost importance in any smart house; just as you wouldn't leave your front door wide open, so should Wi-Fi security also not be neglected.
These are the best practices.
Make sure your default router password is changed into something secure and unique.
Create a guest network using WPA3 (search Wi-6). Isolate your smart devices from the main network using this technique.
Regularly updating the firmware on your router to ensure it contains all the latest security patches is crucial to its smooth running and safety.
2. Strengthen Device Passwords
To increase security on smart devices, create strong passwords when setting them up. Stay away from easily guessable words such as "123456" and "password." Rather use uppercase letters, symbols and numbers with upper- and lowercase letters mixed. Consider investing in a password-manager as well.
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Many smart home device makers provide two-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection. By activating 2FA you can keep people away - even if someone guesses your password they will still not gain entry because the second authentication step prevents access. This safeguard prevents unauthorised entry.
4. Install Firmware Updates Regularly
Firmware updates are critical in maintaining security on smart devices, with manufacturers regularly issuing patches to plug any vulnerabilities or security gaps that have been discovered in them. Be on the lookout for updates regularly and install them when available - immediately!
5. Evaluate Devices
All smart gadgets are not equal. Before buying new smart devices, do your research on manufacturers. Look for products with timely updates and secure software; and avoid buying from unknown or dubious brands.
6. Isolate Sensitive Devices
Consider isolating your most sensitive devices onto their own network if possible; for instance:
As such, when protecting critical devices such as smart locks and security cameras from lesser devices like smart bulbs or speakers - hackers could compromise one network but still leave all other devices safe from attack.
Review App Permissions
Smart home apps often ask for access to your devices. Before giving an app access, take time to consider its data requirements before authorizing access. Determine whether this access is essential to running the device effectively and limit what permissions it needs in order to function optimally.
8. Approach Voice Assistants Carefully
Voice-activated assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can be extremely beneficial; however, privacy risks should always be kept in mind. Review your voice assistant's settings regularly in order to minimize information being disclosed through these platforms; additionally consider turning off microphone usage when not needed in order to prevent unintended eavesdropping by third parties.
9. Conduct regular Device checks
Make it a routine practice to perform periodic checks on your smart devices. Be alert for unusual behaviour such as devices turning on or off abruptly or unknown devices joining your network - act swiftly if anything seems amiss!
10. Understanding Your Device's Data Use
Research the privacy policies for any devices you purchase in order to understand their data use. Some may collect your personal data for advertising or any other reason and share it with third-parties - make informed choices when adding new devices into your home!
11. Keep up with developments in smart home security.
Subscribe to security newsletters, follow reputable tech blogs, and read news articles like those found in the New York Post; by doing this you will gain a better grasp on how best to secure your smart house.
Smart Home Security Advice from Industry Professionals Modern homes provide us with comfort, but they come with risks we should take seriously. Need help installing smart home security systems?
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