The connectivity provided by the internet makes life easier especially now that we’ve got an app for almost everything and its no different at our homes, devices like Alexa and google nest, baby monitors, video doorbells and security systems gives us ease and convenience but at what cost, smart home devices can all communicate with each other and can be controlled remotely, controlling your devices remotely is great for both you and the hacker, its how your network gets accessed, and that’s not the only problem,
Another is that you end up sharing your information with the service provider, information that can be devastating to you if it is leaked, I recently had my email account and password hacked through a similar service provider and had to spend a week to change everything, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on turning your house into a smart home, its the same as not shopping online because you thing your credit card information will be stolen, it all depends on how vigilant you are, follow the tips below and you’ll be one step ahead of anyone trying to infiltrate your smart home network.
Smart Home Security Tips
1. Unplug Devices That Are Not in Use
Always unplug devices, not in use, I know it seems like it defeats the purpose of the idea of the smart home, always having something when you need it, clap your hands and the lights dim voice-activated everything, but you will not always be using your DVR, and why do you need that camera on the stove, turn them off especially if you are going out, and please get rid of your printer its low margin so the manufacturer’s don’t care about securing it, who still uses a printer at home, if you do, use it the old school way don’t connect it to your network
2. Change Default Usernames and Password
This is the oldest problem with any network, smart home devices always come with default usernames and passwords, make sure you always change your username and password and make sure its a really hard password the best thing you can do is to get a password manager that way you never have to remember your password, please don’t use admin, root or 12345, those are the first things hackers try, I always say that my password is safe if I don’t remember it at all.
3. Update Firmware
Always update the firmware of all your devices, make sure its the first thing you do, smart devices come with basic firmware that most of the time have vulnerabilities, hackers will always try their luck the easy way and get rid of devices that do not have an option to upgrade firmware, I advise you to go with the big guns like google and amazon when you buy your devices, these guys can’t stand bad publicity and always try to improve security each year.
4. Manage Passwords
I use LastPass, I strongly advise you use something similar, I believe that those who remember their passwords are looking for a beating, the convenience of a password manager is, you type it in or generate it and forget it, this enables you to have a different unique password for each device.
5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
It took me a while to warm up to two-factor authentication, I had to get into serious trouble to realize its importance, two-factor authentication increases your security, you get an extra layer of security either through a text message or an authentication app.
6. Choose Your Cameras Wisely
I will say this over and over again, buy your smart devices from reputable companies, you don’t always have to go with the cheapest, look for the most secure, cameras are one of the most vulnerable devices on your network, second only to printers choose them well.
7. Enable Firewall
Ist a smart idea to enable firewall for all your devices, hardware firewall devices are the best like the firewalla, Bitdefender box 2 or the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG), you can use these devices to monitor you in8.coming and outgoing traffic, smart devices lack their own security and only rely on the router’s firewall, adding a hardware firewall device increases your security substantially.
8. Change Passwords Regularly
This might seem extreme but I change my passwords every three months, use a password manager, it will make life easy.
9. Use a Separate Wi-Fi Network for Your Smart Home Devices
Never have all the devices on the same network, keep your computers away from your smart home devices, create a guest account for family, or set up a separate router with a different gateway.
10. Get Yourself Uninterrupted Power
This is especially important if you have a security system on your network what’s the use if all the crooks have to do is to cut the power and everything is down, some systems come with their own backup power but many don’t get yourself a UPS (uninterrupted power supply ) to make sure your devices don’t lose power on you.
Smart home devices are as much a part of our lives just like the smartphone, playing your favorite songs with voice command or streaming your favorite show or even buying anything though Alexa is what we are used to now, all we have to do is to change a few of our habits so we don’t get hacked, for example not placing cameras in the shower, why would you even do that, or taking a device with a mic like Alexa into your bedroom
What’s scary is that you never know if your hacked, most of the time it’s to late when you find out, so be careful, make it harder for them.
You Can Take The Tin Foil Hat Off Now.