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TOP tips to a secure smart home

Posted on Mar 18, 2019.

Fancy and exciting new gadgets that are making your smart home more efficient are also making you more vulnerable. It is your responsibility to be educated on keeping your personal information secure in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the time where we own more devices connected to the internet than ever before, an increased threat to our personal data looms. Cybercriminals are now turning their attacks on smart homes due to the number of people lacking knowledge around security when it comes to smart devices.

Examples of connected smart home devices:

  • Smart TVs

  • Security cameras

  • Smart locks

  • Gaming consoles

  • Smart thermostats

Although these devices provide convenience to our modern day living, they also increase our vulnerability.

The Internet of Things (IoT):

The IoT is essentially all of your appliances and devices that are connected to the internet, but the growth of this has created new opportunities for cybercriminals.

Why is my smart home vulnerable?

Because IoT devices offer a new point of entry, for example:

  • It has been known that hackers have hacked baby monitors to spy on people.

  • Hackers could access your thermostat to determine when you are home or not.

  • Hackers could access your IoT devices for a ransom (Ransomware).

  • They could also access any passwords or financial information you may have stored on your Amazon Echo or Google Home.

How can a hacker target my smart home?

  • Cybercriminals can target your smart home devices by using your internet router as a point of entry.

  • They can also harness the power of your IoT devices to execute to a wider cybercriminal attack on larger corporations.

Why are smart home devices vulnerable?

  • Routers and security cameras have little to none built-in security.

  • No systems hardening.

  • No mechanism for updating data.

  • Default or hardcoded passwords, which are easy to exploit.

So, here are the TOP tips for securing your smart home:

  • Give your router an official name (don't keep the default name as it can reveal the make or model of the router).

  • Use strong encryption for your WiFi (this will keep your network and communications secure).

  • Set up a guest network (keep your WiFi account private and have a separate network for guests).

  • Change the default usernames and passwords (cybercriminals may already know the default names or passwords that come with a specific IoT device).

  • Use strong, unique passwords for WiFi networks and device accounts.

  • Check the settings for your device (default settings could benefit the manufacturer more than they benefit you).

  • Disable any features you may not need.

  • Keep your software up to date (don't put off a software update).

  • Audit your IoT devices (it may be time to update some of your devices).

  • Two-Factor Authentication (if your device offers this, use it).

  • Avoid using public WiFi (if you can't avoid using public WiFi, use a VPN).

  • Watch out for outages (a hardware outage could result in an insecure state for your devices).

Ultimately, your smart home needs protection!

 

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