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Protecting Your Smart Home


6 Steps to Securing Your Smart Home Against Cyber Crime
Posted: May 09, 2017 at 12:00 AM by Erin Wood

Today nearly 1/4 of US homeowners live in a smart home and, in just 5 years, that number is expected to double. If you haven’t bought into smart technology, you’re rapidly becoming the minority. The smart home offers luxury and convenience to homes (and not to mention something to show off to all of your friends at parties-this stuff is seriously cool), but as homes get smarter and cooler, the people living in them have to get smarter-and safer.  

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you probably aren’t worried about cybercrime. However, if you’ve read the news or been on social media-AT ALL, the thought of cyber safety has probably crossed your mind-a least once. In an age where everything from our front doors, to our televisions, to our bank accounts, to our cars are connected, it’s crucial to ask yourself “am I being safe?” ­­­

According to a survey by IRIS, 62% of adults believe that the most valuable reason to outfit a home with smart technology is security. But as we provide our homes with devices to offer protection, we may actually be making ourselves vulnerable to a whole new world of attacks. See, anything that you can connect-your thermostat, baby monitor, garage door-can be hacked. And hackers can use all this information to learn your patterns, break down your security, or gain access to other online accounts. It sounds like super scary stuff, but there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself.

Check out the tips below to learn how you can keep your smart home safe:

 

1.    Buy the Brands You Trust 

Admittedly some smart home technology can be a little pricey, so it’s understandable how tempting it may be to purchase that cheaper option you’ve never heard of. However, by doing so you may be losing the security features that top name brands build into their software. If you’re questioning the safety of a device, a quick Google search can provide insight to past security problems. Well-known brands are often well-known for their safety, but that’s not always the case, so make sure to do your research before buying.


2.      Keep Your Main Computer and Smart Home Devices on the Different Networks

Segregating your networks significantly reduces the risk of hacking across devices. To keep things safe, you can purchase a separate internet connection or split your existing connection. Today, many modern routers have guest WIFI options that are easy to set up. It may seem like an unnecessary precaution, but imagine hackers could easily hack your personal computer because they got in through your lightbulbs!


3.      Protect Your Router

Your home’s router is your home’s digital front door, so of course, it makes sense to put a lock on it. Investing in a router with a good security track record and ensuring you have changed all default passwords (to something a little harder to guess than your birthday!) will make it harder for attackers to access all devices on your network.

4.     Change Passwords on Each Smart Home Device

While you’re changing and strengthening your router password, you may as well do the same on all your devices. Remember that default passwords are easy for hackers to find on online forums.

5.      Use all the Security Features Your Device Offers

Recently, Nest Thermostat implemented a two-factor authentication for its app. While passwords become easier for hackers to sidestep, additional security features, such as a fingerprint scan, or codes received via phone or text will make a huge difference in safety. Many of your smart home devices have additional security checks you may not be using, so be sure you’re aware of all the features on your device.

 

6.      Complete Software Updates (In a Timely Manner)

We are all guilty of putting off the important updates! It seems like phones and tablets only notify you of software updates when you’re in the middle of a Netflix marathon or the day after you used your remaining storage space to take six hundred selfies with your dog. Yeah, you could clean it all out OR you could press “Update Later”….again and again…for weeks and weeks (you know, until you finally get around to deleting all those selfies). But software updates can update your security too! So while it may be tempting to let it slide, remember you’re putting your cyber security at risk. 


These tips are just the beginning in securing your smart home against cybercrime. If you’re interested in looking further into this topic, I encourage you to do your own research! Not sure where to start? Check out the resources I used below:

 

https://www.privatetunnel.com/home/how-to-keep-your-smart-home-safe/

http://techtalk.currys.co.uk/gadgets/smart-home/how-to-keep-your-smart-home-safe/

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/7-ways-to-keep-your-smart-home-from-being-hacked-2016-10-17

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/keeping-smart-homes-safe-from-hackers/

http://smarthome.reviewed.com/features/6-easy-tips-to-secure-smart-home-devices

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2925056/5-steps-to-keep-your-smart-home-from-being-hacked.html

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