Keep Hackers Out of Your Smart Home

Top 3 Smart Locks of 2018

Home security has come a long way in the last few years with us now having a wide range of smart sensors, alarms and door entry systems available to us. While most of these smart home products do a very good job at what they are supposed to do, some of them could potentially be the weakness that will allow an intruder to gain access into your property.

The thing is, smart technology is not cheap and so many people buy based on price rather than security. These cheaper products in most cases, lack any real security for the homeowners. Then again, even pricier options will not protect you unless you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for securing the devices.

It isn’t just home security anymore either that hackers are exploiting. It is smart TVs and smart refrigerators to baby monitors and light bulbs.

Smart technology makes our life easier but if you’re going to integrate smart technology into your own home, you must learn how to prevent it from being hacked.

Firmware Updates

Much like you would do with computers, if your smart home devices offer them, make sure that you keep the firmware updated. Check this before purchasing as many do not offer updates. If this is the case, skip the purchase and look into a different device.

If firmware updates are offered, these updates will fix any security bugs that are found. Some companies will even “push” the firmware so that you don’t have to do anything as the device will automatically update.

Multi Factor Authentication

A simple password is not enough to protect your smart home devices. You should add a secondary verification element to give an extra layer of security. The more obstacles that you can put in the way of a hacker, the harder you make it for them to gain access.

This added layer of security could be a security key or a single-use code sent to a phone to keep unknown users out but for this you should also make sure that your phone is secure too. There are also verification methods such as using a thumbprint or an eye scan but choose something that works for you. I have personally never trusted the latter methods but it is personal choice.

Change the Default User Details

Many smart devices will come with a default username and password for you to use to login and monitor the devices. It doesn’t take long for these default details to make it onto hacker forums so it is important that you change these as soon as you get your devices. This is also true for smart home appliances as hackers can still use these to monitor your activities. Use a password or passphrase that includes varied numbers, symbols, as well as capitalization.

Stop Using Public WiFi

Public WiFi makes for an easy entry to smart devices for hackers. Keep the “automatically connect” setting switched off on your phones and be wary of shared connections. If a hacker gains access to your phone, they then have access to all of your devices.

A better alternative would be to use wireless hotspots that you can set up on your phone. You could also use a VPN service but thoroughly check them out for security first and NEVER choose a free VPN.

Keep Critical Devices Offline

The idea is to limit the access to your all your smart home devices through only one path. If a criminal wanted to break into your home, they could break into the car to steal the fob for the garage door. When you leave for work they open the garage door and can then go straight into your home.

As you install more smart devices, criminals have more ways to gain access. Most of these devices are usually connected to a cloud-based account which means that if someone was to hack that account, they have access to every smart device on that account including your smart door locks. It is always best to opt out of any cloud access for your own security. Buy home security smart devices that will only allow you to access them when you’re connected to your home’s wireless network or via bluetooth with the use of a password.

Only Buy From Trusted Brands

Not all consumers have security as a top priority. A quick search on Amazon will pull up hundreds of budget smart home security devices but always do thorough research before you buy. Don’t always trust the reviews shown on Amazon or eBay. It’s also worth checking whether the brands encrypts personal content. As an example, the brand Ring do not encrypt customers’ videos which leaves them wide open for viewing.

As new devices and new security measures are released, hackers are immediately at work to work out ways to penetrate those devices. Believe it or not, this is a “business” for them. Always be one step ahead and look into security measures that you can take for your specific devices.


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