If you’re like many people across the country these days, your home is likely filled with internet-connected , from your office, kitchen, and dining room, through to your living room, bedrooms, laundry, and more.
Now, while having a smart home can certainly bring you interest, entertainment, and time savings, unfortunately it can also bring you something you don’t want: privacy flaws. Because gadgets connect to the internet there is a much higher risk that they can be hacked, and that cybercriminals can, in turn, gain access to your networks, data, and even your home, potentially. Hackers know smart-home devices can lead to security holes and are therefore focusing more attention on finding ways to exploit these weaknesses.
If you want to ensure your information is protected from prying eyes, and sensitive data can’t be tampered with, deleted, held for ransom, or otherwise taken advantage of, you must take steps to increase security around your home. Read on for some important steps you can follow today.
Choose Secure Brands and Change Default Settings
When considering data privacy in the age of IoT (Internet of Things), it is firstly important to look for more secure brands when you’re researching product options. There are so many different items to choose from that you might tend to evaluate things by price first and foremost, but don’t forget to keep security top of mind too. Trusted brands known for taking security seriously in their product development and manufacturing will end up being a more cost-effective choice in the long run, because they’ll be less at risk for hacking issues.
Once you’ve purchased smart-home products, take steps to protect them when you get them home. For example, it is necessary to change the default settings on your gadgets. The reason to do this is that hackers know products come with standard usernames and passwords which can be found easily online. As such, they may try to use this data to gain access to your devices and networks. You need to quickly change these settings then, to keep them at bay. Read the instruction manual that comes with your gadgets for details on how to do this.
As well, keep in mind that hackers often run scans in areas to see what information they can find out about networks and systems being used, and if there are any security gaps they can take advantage of. One of the things that can pop up on their scans is the names of devices. If they see familiar brands and default ID names come up, they’ll know what kind of devices you have, and think because you haven’t changed these details from the standard manufacturer settings, you might be lax on other security details. In turn, this could make you more of a target.
Password-Protect Your Wi-Fi
Next, another key step is to password-protect your Wi-Fi network so cybercriminals can’t use an unsecured wireless network to gain access to your devices. All Wi-Fi systems should be covered by a comprehensive username and password. Make sure, when setting up these details, that they’re things hackers won’t be able to easily guess.
Avoid basing codes on your address, name, the names of your family members and pets, lucky numbers, birth dates, and emails. Many of these details are found online these days, especially on social media sites and websites, so simply aren’t secure enough for you to use as the basis for your log-in information. Furthermore, ensure your password is at least eight characters long, and made up of a mixture of characters (including upper and lower-case letters, and numbers and symbols), so they’re even harder to crack.
Utilize Security Software
It’s not hard or expensive to purchase security software these days, so if you want to protect your smart-home devices, outlay a small amount to buy a comprehensive third-party product that will help to keep hackers at bay. Remember: you will be using apps on your computer, smart-phone, or tablet to control your smart-home devices, and these gadgets are hackable.
When it comes to choosing security software, look for a product that provides cover against a multitude of things, such as viruses, ransomware, spyware, malware, and spam. As an added protection, install firewalls on your computers. These are another handy line of defense against hackers, especially those who try to use the internet to gain access to your systems.
Always keep these safety protocols updated, too, if you want to be as protected as possible. Developers are continually finding holes in security which need to be plugged, and updates fix these and help key hackers at bay.