While innovative new gadgets and smart tech are making our lives easier and taking us a step into the future, we also need to consider how to secure them. Smart homes work on the Internet of Things technology that connects all our smart devices and systems over the internet. High-tech, modern, and convenient with many advantages- but it also means it is vulnerable to cyberattacks and hackers. Even a single component of your smart home being compromised could spell disaster as hackers can control your devices.
So, what can you do to avoid this? Consulting with cybersecurity and smart home experts, we have compiled a number of steps you can take to secure your smart home.
“Smart homes truly make our lives easier, but if you don't take adequate steps, you can be leaving yourself and your personal data wide open to attack.
“First intelligent step to take is to secure your WiFi network. Most routers come as standard with a generic password like admin or no password at all! When you buy a new router, change this immediately or if you haven't already- do it now and set a secure, random password.” (Eoin Pigott)
“Speaking of passwords, it's imperative to set individual, secure passwords for each smart device in your home. Many smart devices come with individual companion apps that require their own accounts, yes it is easy to use the same password for all of these accounts and apps, but if one of these suppliers is compromised and your password is exposed, hackers have free reign over all of your other accounts now too.” (Eoin Pigott)
“Regularly update the firmware of your smart device too. Hackers will regularly be on the lookout for exploits they can use to their advantage, updates from manufacturers fix these flaws. A lot of devices automatically update, however some do require you to manually enter the app and update from there.”
Eoin Pigott, Data Security Expert Wisetek
“The most important yet simple aspect of protecting your smart home network is to enable two-factor authentication and securing your WiFi network by using the latest routers armed with very strong passwords. The router is a one-way path to all your devices and this is where your first line of defense should be. Always ensure that your software is up-to-date and that features on your smart devices that you don’t need are necessarily turned off at all times.
“And finally, pay attention to firmware – the basic software that runs your router and all connected devices. Outdated firmware will basically make any other step you take towards securing your smart home system quite futile.”
Charlotte Robinson, a Software Engineer and Smart Home Blogger, Robot Powered Home
“The key is to make sure IoT devices are on private, secured networks. That's because if a hacker were to break in- and if your internet-connected camera is on the same network as your Wi-Fi hub- they could turn it into an attack vector for other devices. Or, worse yet, they could commandeer your camera and watch you without you knowing it.”
Amir Behrozi, Founder of My Home Dojo
“Set up a separate wifi network for guests: These days, Wi-Fi connection stands at the same level of importance in terms of sensitivity as your home address. If you often have guests who connect to your wifi, be on the safer side and have them access a separate network. You never know how linking with your wifi could compromise your data, and you can’t be too safe. Do a two-factor authentication: this is an added layer of security where access can only be granted through your smartphone. This can help ward off anyone who attempts to breach your network.”(Jack Miller)
“Factory reset old devices before disposing of them: If you’re getting rid of old devices, be sure to factory reset them first to delete all your data. You never know who the next person will be and he/she may not have the best of intentions when they come across your data.”
Jack Miller, Founder of How I Get Rid Of
“One of the best ways to secure your smart home is to create a separate Wi-Fi network for your IoT devices and run multiple network segments instead. Many modern routers will allow you to easily set up a guest (or secondary) network that will help you to isolate your main network against any incoming IoT cyberattacks. This way, any guests that come into your home will only be able to log into a network that isn’t directly related to your IoT devices, which ensures your main smart home network remains completely isolated and only accessible by those living in the household. So, even if hackers do manage to get through, they will be unable to access any of your more important devices, like your laptop or phone.” (Eden Cheng)
“You can also opt to employ a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW). This is a useful method because traditional firewalls will often lack the necessary features like malware protection, QoS management, and other features that are essential in providing complete security. On the other hand, an NGFW offers all these security functionalities and more, making it an extremely powerful form of protection against cyberattacks. And while these firewalls can be rather expensive to install, the level of security offered makes them a worthwhile investment.”
Eden Cheng, Co-Founder PeopleFinderFree
“As technologies and other hardware begin to develop towards integrating into the smart home ecosystem, your security and privacy come into question as everything connects to the same wireless network. Smart devices all usually require you to create some sort of profile in order to personalize your experience or to make sure only you have access to it, but this means you send this personalized information to the manufacturer’s servers each time you use it or that it’s in use.
“For this reason, safeguarding your network with a VPN or a firewall will be instrumental in making sure no one can access any information being shared with your devices. This especially becomes pertinent as people begin to adopt smart devices like smart hubs or smart cameras, which not only send information but can give someone access to the privacy you find at home. By increasing the connection between your devices and the network, you prevent prying eyes from accessing your wireless ecosystem.”
Carla Diaz, Co-Founder of Broadband Search