Smart home breaches have become alarmingly prevalent in today’s headlines, causing many people to think twice about investing in and using devices linked to the Internet of Things (IoT). This concern is understandable, but there’s no need to forgo the convenience and potential energy savings of smart home technology. Even a small degree of effort can dramatically improve security, thereby limiting the likelihood of a potential breach. Begin by implementing the following smart home security practices:
1. Don’t Connect Every Device
Do you really need to connect all of your devices to your home network? Each additional connection delivers greater risk. Plus, many products can be used just as effectively without an internet connection.
Take inventory of your home’s current smart devices to determine which actually warrant a broader connection – and which can be used in an “old-fashioned” manner.
By limiting the number of connected devices, you’ll find it easier to keep up with protective measures for those that are actually linked. Continue to think carefully about the need for connection as you invest in new devices.
2. Disable Unnecessary Features
Perhaps you’re not yet willing to disconnect an IoT device that you’ve come to rely on. Thankfully, a middle ground exists – disabling the features most capable of compromising your security. Many of these features are enabled by default but not actively used on a day-to-day basis. Remote access, for example, tends to prompt the most alarming threats but is not strictly needed for all devices. Take a closer look at your currently enabled features to determine if any can be sidestepped.
3. Use Secure Passwords
Password security is absolutely critical, and yet, many smart home devotees fail to adjust their devices’ default passwords. As soon as you set up a new IoT system, make a point of altering both the username and password. Ideally, you should select a random string of letters and numbers. Steer clear of including personal information such as your name, birth date, or address. Don’t hesitate to adjust your password in the future to maintain exceptional security.
4. Supplement Passwords with Two-Factor Authentication
Strong password protection plays a vital role in the security of your network, but it alone may no longer prove sufficient. Amp up your efforts by taking advantage of two-factor authentication, which is now offered for a variety of devices and apps. This approach to logging in mandates identity confirmation via at least two methods. In most cases, this means entering a password, followed by a code sent via text or email.
5. Mute Devices When Discussing Sensitive Matters
Your smart home devices may bring a great deal of convenience to your daily life, but they’re certainly not risk-free. These products are typically tethered to speakers that catch every word and sound. This could grant hackers access to sensitive information, so consider muting potentially problematic devices when discussing private matters.
6. Update IoT Firmware and Patches
Make an effort to keep all IoT devices up to date in terms of firmware and patches. These updates are typically made available as soon as security flaws have been detected, so they should not be ignored. Most upgrades are easy to enact, so there’s no excuse for failing to take action.
7. Stick to a Secure Wi-Fi Network
Public Wi-Fi should be avoided at all costs. By failing to secure your wireless network, you could give hackers easy access to sensitive data transmitted via IoT devices. Key steps for securing your network include changing your service set identifier (SSID) name, enabling encryption, and using a strong firewall.
8. Use a Separate Network for Smart Devices
Securing your Wi-Fi is only the beginning. Ideally, you’ll go beyond the single network found in most homes to implement at least two: one for your computer and one for other devices. Your standard computer likely houses extensive personal data, which is easier to access if it occupies the same network as your IoT devices. By maintaining separate networks, you can dramatically reduce the risk of identity theft.
9. Establish a Guest Network
Do you regularly welcome visitors into your home? If so, you may benefit from a dedicated guest network. This is particularly essential if you work remotely or run a home-based business. Your network will provide a convenient connection for visitors without allowing them to access information stored on – or transmitted by – your IoT devices.
10. Audit Existing IoT Devices
If you initially invested in smart home devices several years ago, you may have felt ahead of the curve. Unfortunately, the security features on these gadgets may now be woefully out of date. Consider upgrading anything that you suspect might amplify risks. Old security cameras, for example, can dramatically increase your household’s vulnerability.
Bonus: Seek Help from a Cybersecurity Company
Are you ready to harness the benefits of home automation systems? There’s no need to compromise security as you make the most of the Internet of Things. The experts at NerdsToGo are happy to help you make sure your sensitive data is protected. As a top smart home setup company, we offer a variety of services, including smart home system installation. Plus, we have extensive experience with a wide range of products, such as smart home locks, smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, smart light bulbs, and more. Ready to get started? Contact us today!