With so many consumers buying internet-connected devices these days, hackers are focusing on gaining access to homes and networks via these products more and more. In fact, in September the BlueBorne Bluetooth vulnerability allowed hackers to infiltrate around five billion gadgets simply by using a Bluetooth connection, recent news shows that issues can still arise just from this one virus. Armis Security announced last month that an estimated 20 million Google Home and Amazon Echo devices were vulnerable to attack due to the BlueBorne issue.
While the two tech giants released patches to fix this problem very quickly on their respective devices, the news only goes to show that you need to buy devices with top security protocols in place, as well as know how to keep your gadgets secure once you get them home. Read on for some key ways you can go about protecting your home and information today.
Choose Trusted Brands and Change Security Settings
For starters, think about security when you first go to buy a smart-home system. It pays to buy trusted brands which have a reputation for taking security seriously and making their products less at risk of hacking attacks.
Next, once you bring home devices, as you set them up make sure you change the default settings on each. The information guides which come with products contain instructions on how to do this, but most people don’t read or follow the guidelines, and leave their devices vulnerable as a result. The issue is, hackers can easily look up online, or elsewhere, the details on which usernames and passwords manufacturers use when they create products, and then use this information to gain access to gadgets and networks.
It is a good idea to change the default ID name that is set up on internet-enabled items too. Again, hackers know that most manufacturers ship goods out with the same identification details for each device under their brand name. If cybercriminals run a scan in your area to look for a way to get into your network, they could see the name of your device popping up.
When this happens, they’ll realize straight away that you’re using that particular brand in your home, and will guess you probably haven’t changed any other settings either. This will make them think you’re lax on security, which may compel them to hack into your devices over someone else’s.
Secure Your Wi-Fi
Smart-home products always use the internet to complete their functions. As such, another key strategy you should take to protect your information is to secure your Wi-Fi so hackers can’t use an unsecured wireless network to gain access.
Rather than leaving your Wi-Fi open for anyone to use, protect it with a comprehensive username and password that no one would be able to guess. Your password should be between eight and 12 characters in length and made up of a mixture of symbols, letters (both upper and lower case), and numbers. Avoid making the username or the code related to your own name, or that of any information about you that hackers could find online, such as the name of your business, pets, children, or partner; your birthdate, address, and email.
Install Security Software
Next, keep in mind that hackers often try to gain access to smart-home devices via the apps you use to control these devices, which you would have downloaded to your computer, smartphone, and/or tablet. To stay safe then, always install professional security software on your devices.
Choose a product that provides protection from malware, spam, spyware, viruses, ransomware, and the like. In addition, it is helpful to have firewalls running on your devices too. These act as another line of defense against hackers, particularly when it comes to internet-based programs.
Run Regular Updates
Lastly, you will keep your smart-home products safer if you regularly update the different software you use. For example, whenever there is an update available for one of your smart-home products, run it straight away so security holes which have opened up because you purchased the product, or since it was manufactured, get plugged.
As well, update the security software, firewalls, apps, browsers, plug-ins, and operating systems on your computers so you always have the latest editions running. Passwords need to be changed every two to three months too if you want to give yourself optimum protection. It is also wise to use different codes for different smart-home products and computers, so that if one does happen to be compromised, they won’t all be vulnerable to attack.
Although all the here-above mentionned tips may seem obvious to many of us, we know for sure that very few people, even among the most experienced users of tech devices, do rigorously follow those security “best practices”. It is one thing to know and another thing to do! But considering the expanding number of cyberthreats, it is really time now for all of us to get serious about the security of our connected devices and take the time needed to properly lock the doors of our smart homes…