Top 5 Tips to Secure Your Smart Home
Smart home technologies have made our lives easier and more convenient, but they’re not without security issues. The Internet of Things (IoT) – all those devices and appliances that are connected to the web and each other on your network – have opened up new opportunities for hackers.
The bottom line is: If you have a smart and connected home, you must take the necessary measures for its protection. Below, we’ll go over some effective ways to secure your smart IoT devices so you and your family can enjoy them worry-free:
Why Are Smart IoT Devices Vulnerable?
IoT devices like thermostats, locks, and security cameras can be connected to the internet and facilitate our daily activities. As such, it doesn’t come as a surprise that millions of people around the world are installing new gadgets to make their homes smarter. In 2019, there were more than 26.6 billion active IoT devices, and that number is expected to grow to 75 billion by 2025.
However, did you know that we’re exposing ourselves to new risks as we bring more connected devices into our homes? Basically, they offer new entry points for hackers. For example, there have been instances of cyber crooks hacking into smart cameras and baby monitors to spy on victims’ families.
What’s worse, it’s hard to say when and if manufacturers will ever address these devices’ security vulnerabilities. Here are some reasons why:
Manufacturers Overlook IoT Security
The main selling point of IoT devices is convenience. If an IoT manufacturer has to choose between convenience and security, they’ll almost always go with the benefit that’s immediately apparent to the customer.
Secure IoT Devices Are Difficult to Develop
IoT devices don’t have a lot of space, memory, and computing power. In fact, they often have to operate on batteries. Therefore, security approaches that involve encryption and decryption aren’t suitable for these constrained devices.
Most IoT devices Are Shipped with Default Credentials
When manufacturers make IoT devices, they usually give them factory default usernames and passwords, which hackers know about and exploit. That’s why you should always change the logins of your IoT devices.
There Are Search Engines for IoT Devices
Yes, you read that right. Just because someone isn’t on your Wi-Fi network, it doesn’t mean they can’t attempt to access your IoT device(s). Search engines (like Shodan and Thingful) allow anyone to search for them online from anywhere in the world.
Building a More Secure Smart Home – Top 5 IoT Security Tips
Now that you know how smart IoT devices are vulnerable, let’s take a look at some ways you can make them more secure:
Change the Default Logins
One of the biggest security challenges for smart IoT devices is default login credentials. Most people barely change them, giving hackers the opportunity to use them and gain access. Hence, the first step to increasing your IoT security must be changing factory default usernames and passwords.
Set Up a Separate Wi-Fi Network
Some routers allow you to create guest networks to keep friends, relatives, and visitors off your regular network. Check your router’s manual and create a separate network for your smart IoT devices to connect to. We also recommend setting up a VPN on your router and enabling WPA2 to boost your network’s security.
Regularly Update Firmware
Install the latest security patches when available to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to an attack. Manufacturers dispatch fixes to new exploits and vulnerabilities as they’re discovered, so make sure you regularly update your router and IoT devices.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is one of the best ways to keep the bad guys from accessing your accounts. If the IoT apps you use offer 2FA functionality (like a one-time code sent to your phone), don’t forget to use it.
Disable Features You Don’t Use
IoT devices come with an array of features like remote access, which are often enabled by default. If you don’t need some of these settings, you’re better off disabling them.
Your smart home could be vulnerable! By following the IoT security tips mentioned above, you can make it difficult (if not impossible) for hackers to break in.
Yasir Shamim is an up and coming Digital Marketer currently working as an Executive at PureVPN with the aim of increasing their search engine visibility. Digital Marketer by day and Tech Fanatic by night, he enjoys reading up about cyber security and technology in general and also loves to share his opinions.