Over the years, smart home technology has found its way into our living spaces and completely changed how we operate in our homes. From Google Home to Alexa, home automation is now much more accessible than once imagined. Smart home technology has also brought life-changing positives, providing more convenience and security.
But even as you plan on investing in this technology, smart home devices are not without risks. Smart home technology can sometimes make your home insecure, especially if security is treated as an afterthought. Multiple access points with shaky security systems make it easier for hackers to infiltrate your home network and potentially gain access to all the connected devices.
How do I secure my smart home devices from hackers?
With the increased risk of cyber attacks from hackers, having reservations about welcoming a smart home ecosystem into your living space is understandable. However, you can still make your smart home secure if you follow these simple tips to keep your devices safe from hackers.
Secure your Wi-Fi network
A weak and unprotected Wi-Fi network is the easiest entry point utilized by hackers to compromise your smart home devices. When your Wi-Fi router is not secured or uses a default password, it makes it easier for hackers to poke around and get into any devices connected to the network.
The good thing is that you can easily tell if someone is using your Wi-Fi network. But this is not enough until you deploy enough security measures to keep them off. The first and easiest way to prevent hackers from snooping around your Wi-Fi network is to secure it with a strong password.
Try not to stick to the default password given to you by your service provider. These passwords are often vulnerable and can easily be hacked. Create a strong and unique password not used on your other devices or accounts. It would help if you also used this password only for your home network.
Use super-strong passwords on all your smart devices
A strong password for your Wi-Fi network may not be the only solution you need to keep hackers off your smart home devices. There are other areas where you still need to deploy super strong passwords for maximum security. For instance, most of your Wi-Fi-connected devices that require login credentials should be protected by strong passwords.
Hackers know you won't pay attention to your devices after securing the home Wi-Fi network. Similarly, they understand most smart-home owners tend to stick to the default passwords for their smart devices. That’s why hackers try to compromise these passwords and find their way into your smart devices.
Essentially, default passwords don’t cut it—you must create unique credentials for every smart device’s app or account. If you can’t set strong passwords for your devices, you should try using a trusted password manager. A good password management tool will help you store unlimited unique passwords, create new ones and even sync them through various devices.
Have a separate Wi-Fi network for local use and devices
Shared Wi-Fi networks are a huge security risk to your home. One main Wi-Fi network where friends, neighbors and guests can log in opens an easy access point to your home, especially if the same network is connected to your smart devices. A bad neighbor can easily hack into your smart devices and compromise your home security system elements such as alarms, doorbells, etc.
The good news is that modern Wi-Fi routers allow you to set up a secondary network on top of what you already have. By dedicating a separate network to your smart devices, you can easily protect the main network against any threats. It's also a good way to deal with bad neighbors who may want to sell your crucial network information to hackers.
If hackers manage to get through the local network at any point, you'll be able to contain the threat effectively. This helps ensure sensitive personal data kept on your main devices such as your computer or phone is safe. Remember that you'll still need strong passwords for your secondary and smart device networks.
Update your smart devices regularly
Like any other Wi-Fi-connected device, smart home devices require regular updating. Available updates are not always advertised and may not happen automatically. So, it helps if you stay on top by regularly checking with the manufacturer to find any pending firmware updates. Where possible, adjust your device settings to turn on automatic software updates.
Regular device updates are essential because they often include the latest security patches to enhance your network's security. Besides, the way hackers try to gain access to your home networks and attack smart devices is constantly changing. So, your smart home devices need constant software updates to address weak codes and strengthen their overall security.
Always stay in the loop and embrace any new form of protection that can secure your home from the evolving threats to smart home security. Verifying new firmware updates and inviting security audits is also key to protecting your smart home devices.
Understand each of your smart home devices and their vulnerabilities
Modern smart home devices come with varying vulnerabilities that may compromise their intended purpose of providing convenience and security. Some products may promise to make your home an automated safe place but exhibit serious flaws.
You may want to examine your smart home devices and identify their built-in security features before installing them. The idea is to learn of any security challenges, threats, and vulnerabilities that can be passed over to another device.
This is essential, considering most smart home devices are interconnected. If one of these devices is flawed, the vulnerability will likely be passed on to another, leaving your smart ecosystem compromised and susceptible to attacks.
A smart home ecosystem is the way to go in today's fast-paced world. However, it's not an all-in-one solution to your home security needs. While this ecosystem allows you to tackle security risks easily, it may also expose you to serious threats from hackers. Follow the above-shared tips and learn how to stay safe and protect your smart home devices from hackers.