Got a smart TV, smart speaker, or smart thermostat? Having a smart home is convenient and has many advantages. But at the same time, it can pose security risks. Here’s what you need to pay attention to.
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Why You Can’t Take Smart Home Device Security for Granted
Most smart devices connected to the internet come with potential security risks. Recognizing this is the first step to keeping your smart home safe.
- More than once, hackers have been hijacking smart thermostats and using Amazon Ring surveillance cameras to taunt homeowners. They’ve been exploiting security vulnerabilities built into devices or taking advantage of lax security practices.
- Vulnerabilities in smart coffee makers could allow hackers access to your home network.
- The FBI has issued a warning that your smart TV could be spying on you.
- Smart devices like biometric mattresses constantly collect data about your habits. Unless the manufacturer safeguards this data, it may fall into the wrong hands and be used against you.
- Hackers are tapping into smart home devices to gain access to networks and use them to launch DDoS attacks.
- Smart appliances may run third-party apps whose security isn’t always verified by the device’s manufacturer.
- Smart households are on the rise. Over 70 million households are predicted to have a smart home device by 2025. Hackers aren’t likely to ignore this.
- You’re only as safe as the smart device with the weakest security. Because smart home devices are all connected to your network, hackers may exploit one to gain access to the others.
Does all this mean you should think twice before getting a smart home device? Saying no to smart home devices could mean losing exciting features and convenience. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to tighten up the security of these devices.
How to Protect Your Smart Devices
A proactive approach to the security of your smart home can bring you all its conveniences without the security woes.
Use a VPN for smart gadgets like Amazon Firesticks or a Smart TV
A VPN for Firestick lets you stream all the content you want without your ISP spying on your traffic. By masking your IP address, it also makes you less vulnerable to security attacks.
Make sure your router doesn’t use a generic password like “admin”
Change this to a stronger password. Also, change your router’s generic name to make it harder to identify. Router security is crucial because it can enable hackers to access smart devices connected to it.
Regularly change passwords
Using strong passwords and changing them at least every few months makes your devices harder to hack.
Enable two-factor authentication
Available across many devices and platforms, this feature adds another layer of security to your smart home. With it activated, you have to provide an additional code to authenticate to connected accounts. This code is usually sent through SMS or generated by an authenticator app. Two-factor authentication can keep hackers away from your smart home devices even if they figure out your passwords.
Replace outdated routers
Routers that are older than 4-5 years may come with software that has security vulnerabilities. They may also be slower.
Regularly update firmware
Firmware is embedded directly into the hardware. It acts as an intermediary between the hardware and the software. Outdated firmware can leave doors open for hackers.
Split your network
You can use your router to create a secondary guest network on which you keep all smart devices. It makes it more difficult for hackers to use your smart home devices to get to your computers or smartphones.
Use security software that can monitor your network
Advanced antimalware software can protect your smart home appliances. It may also let you create a home firewall to add another layer of protection to your network.
Weigh the pros of convenience against the cons of security and privacy
Do the benefits of a voice assistant speaker that always listens to you outweigh the privacy concerns? Ask yourself this question for every smart home device you consider buying.
The Bottom Line
Smart home device security is not something you should take for granted. From updating passwords to using a VPN, there’s a lot you can do to secure your smart home. Prevention is the best defense.