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How to Secure Your Smart Home Devices

 

How to Secure Your Smart Home Devices

Smart home gadgets can do all kinds of magic—turning on lights based on daylight, turning up the heat or cooling system based on weather trends, and even spotting package deliveries before anyone gets there. But they’re not the set-it-and-forget-it devices that many people assume them to be.

Keeping up with updates and following these easy security measures are essential to keep hackers away.

1. Change Your Password

Your smart home can do some pretty cool stuff, turning on your lights based on the sun’s movement or changing your thermostat with voice commands. But connecting your devices to the internet comes with security risks that can put you and your family at risk of cybercrime.

Device hijacking is one example, where attackers gain access to smart home devices and exploit their features, such as spying through cameras or listening in on conversations with voice assistants. This can be incredibly harmful to your privacy and potentially even put your health at risk.

To protect your devices, make sure to use passwords with strong combinations of letters and numbers and set them to change automatically. Also, consider only using smart home products from reputable manufacturers and doing research on them before purchasing. You can look for third-party reviews and reputable news sources to help shape your decision.

2. Install a Firewall

Cybercriminals can gain access to smart home devices to steal information and snoop on activities. From turning on lights based on daylight to eavesdropping on voice assistant conversations to hijacking baby monitors, they can create a world of inconvenience and danger for homeowners.

Using unique passwords is one way to secure a smart device, but you can also install a firewall to protect your home network from malicious attackers. Ensure that your router has a name that doesn’t reveal the brand or your street address, and be sure to update all of your apps regularly.

Some consumer IoT devices don’t have strong security features out of the box, making them vulnerable to attacks like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and permanent denial-of-service (PDoS). Be sure to examine a device’s privacy policies and check for updates frequently to prevent these types of attacks.

3. Install a VPN

Smart-home devices can add convenience, fun and excitement to your home. But they also introduce new risks and make your network vulnerable to cybercriminals. Hackers can access your data, eavesdrop on conversations or watch you via connected security cameras and voice assistants.

These smart devices, from your Wi-Fi router to your light bulbs, are constantly communicating with each other and your phone. That online connection offers up a trove of identifying tidbits for criminals.

A VPN encrypts your Internet connection, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept your data. It’s a good idea to install one on all of your smart devices, especially your router. In addition, consider disabling features that you don’t use to reduce your device’s attack surface. For example, turning off Siri on your smartwatch or deleting the app completely if you don’t plan to use it is a simple way to reduce your exposure.

4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

As you add more devices to your smart home, make sure to enable multi-factor authentication if it’s available. This extra step will make it more difficult for criminals to access your devices and your personal information.

It can also be helpful to put your IoT devices on a separate network, away from the rest of your house’s connected devices. This will prevent malware that infects one device from spreading to the others on your network and compromising them as well. Finally, be sure to examine a device’s privacy policy before purchasing it and regularly update your devices. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to compromise IoT devices, so security updates will protect you from the latest threats.

5. Disable Remote Access

Many smart home devices can be vulnerable to cybercriminals, ranging from voice assistants to security cameras. Criminals can use these devices to eavesdrop on your conversations, which significantly invades your privacy. They can also use them to access your private information, leading to identity theft and financial loss.

When purchasing a device, make sure it uses unique passwords and has strong encryption. Also, be sure to review its privacy settings and disable remote access if it isn’t necessary.

Finally, it’s important to keep your smart home devices updated. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to hack into devices. By keeping your software up to date, you can protect your smart devices against these new threats. You can easily update your smart devices using automatic updates or by visiting the manufacturer’s website.

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