Are Your Smart Home Devices Protected From Hackers? Here Are Key Ways to Increase Security
If you love your gadgets and have created a smart home full to the brim of internet-connected locks, appliances, lighting, cameras, entertainment products, and more, you can no doubt control much of your house from your smartphone, no matter your location.
While having this kind of modern home is lots of fun — plus can be time saving and helpful, it is also important to consider the security angle of having your property set up in this way. Sadly, hackers are continually working out new ways to hack into networks and devices, and can sometimes even, scarily, find ways to unlock doors remotely without leaving any signs of forced entry.
If you have a smart space then, it is vital that you do everything you can to keep cybercriminals at bay, and your information, possessions, and premises safe from harm. Read on for some key ways you can go about increasing security within your home today.
Make Sure Your Wi-Fi and Devices Are Secure
Firstly, it is very important to secure your home’s wireless network. After all, with most smart-home gadgets being constantly connected to the internet, hackers tend to quickly try to gain access to property and devices via an open Wi-Fi connection.
Lots of people don’t bother protecting their network with a password, which means that anyone within range can break into the network router and other access points, and then go about using their internet (and breaking into connected gadgets) as a result.
As such, you must keep your network safe from cybercriminals. It should be necessary for anyone wanting to use the internet in your home to input a password, and this code should be a comprehensive one that can’t be guessed easily.
Passwords should be eight or more characters long; made up of a combination of symbols, letters (upper and lower case), and numbers; and not be based on information that can be found publicly, such as birth dates, email addresses, names of loved ones or pets, and so on.
It is also a good idea to install professional security software on your various computers and related devices, so that hackers can’t get into your smart-home gadgets via the apps you use. Purchase home network security that will protect you from threats such as viruses, spam, malware, ransom-ware, and spyware. Enabling firewalls is also recommended, adding another line of defence against hackers.
Change Gadget Usernames and Logins
Next, make sure that you change the usernames and logins of all of your smart devices from the ones they come with when you buy them. Be aware that manufacturers typically ship products with default passwords and usernames, but tell consumers (via installation instructions) to change these when setting up devices for the first time.
The problem is that many people don’t read these manuals or take the suggested precaution. Hackers are aware of this, and will usually try to gain access to products and networks this way as their first step. Many default codes are found online easily enough in public forums or on brand websites. If you don’t want to be hacked then, take the time to make these changes.
As well, it pays to update the ID name on each of your devices too. Most of them will be shipped out with a default ID which includes the manufacturer’s name. If you don’t update this, hackers can scan systems to look for ways in, and notice that you have particular branded devices. Once they have this information, they will realize that you haven’t changed the ID from the original setting, and will know that your security levels are low. This will encourage them to attack your whole system sooner.
Run Regular Updates
Lastly, keep in mind that security holes can be discovered in software, firmware, and drivers over time, which makes your devices more vulnerable to attack. To prevent this, is it vital that you update everything on a regular basis.
Most smart gadgets won’t update automatically, so you should set up a reminder for yourself to check for updates on a monthly basis. One of the simplest ways to do this is to set the reminder on the same smartphone app that you use to control your smart devices — the majority of tech will have this feature. Don’t forget that you need to check for potential updates when you first buy products too, as they could have been sitting on the shelf for a while.
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