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Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers: Top Security Tips

BY Allconnect | Tue Mar 21, 2017
Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers: Top Security Tips

Homeowners with a high-speed internet connection from their local cable and Internet provider know the importance of securing their network. After all, taking the time to set up a secure password is all it takes to keep nosey neighbors off your Wi-Fi. But did you know that an insecure WiFi connection can harm more than just your computer? That’s right, with the rise in popularity of smart home appliances, hackers now have the opportunity to creep into even more areas of your life. That’s because these devices, like smart refrigerators, ovens and thermostats, are directly connected to your home’s Internet connection – a hacker that manages to breach one of your smart devices could potentially gain access to the entire network. Thankfully there are several strategies that you and your family can deploy to keep your smart home and devices safe from unwanted access.

“Start by enhancing the defensive measures you already have in place.”

Start by securing your network
A hacker won’t have to go through the trouble of targeting one of your automated home appliances if they can simply gain access to your network over the Wi-Fi signal. That’s why the first step in keeping your smart home hack-free is to enhance the defensive measures you already have in place. Yahoo Tech recommended that homeowners start by encrypting their Wi-Fi connection via WPA or WPA2.

In addition to this extra level of security, adding a two-step authentication process makes it much more difficult for hackers to break into your network. Supplementing a password with a PIN verification via your smartphone, for example, is an easy way to reinforce your network’s perimeter. Don’t forget to install up-to-date anti-virus and malware detection software as well. These basic lines of defense are useful for keeping out data miners and other harmful tactics that hackers might use to steal information found on your network.

Know the holes in your defenses

Manufacturers are beginning to invest time and energy into making home automation devices more inherently secure in response to issues raised by customers. As the technology improves, however, you should still keep a close eye on the automated gear you already own. CBS News pointed out DIY automated security cameras and temperature controls rank among the least secure when installed straight out of the box, emphasizing the importance of having these devices expertly installed by a professional. If these devices have already been installed in your home, then be sure to target these systems first when making home security improvements.

Don’t fall behind on updates

Staying aware of the latest routine updates of your automated devices may seem like a bit of a hassle, but diligently keeping your home’s electronics up to date is one of the best ways to protect your network from an attack. These updates often address mistakes in programming and execution that lead to security vulnerabilities. Failure to download and install these updates eventually makes your home’s network far more exposed to risk than necessary, noted Digital Trends. Typically these updates can be scheduled to occur automatically, eliminating any extra work you’d need to do in order to keep your technology up-to-date.

In cases when you feel as though the updates provided by software and hardware manufacturers are insufficient, consider doing a bit of research online for additional security patches. Some companies host additional updates and patches on their websites for users experiencing switch order problems.

Strong passwords are more important than ever

The common tendency of technology owners to use simple, easily hackable passwords is another factor putting home networks at risks. Using the pet’s name for every authentication check in the home is simply not an effective security strategy. While creating and remembering more difficult passwords may seem like an unnecessary time sink, the complexity of pass codes has a direct impact on the security of your home’s network. It may take a few extra minutes to generate and memorize your new passwords but the improved security for your household is well worth the effort.

A secure network means a safer home.A secure network means a safer home.

Keep quiet about your digital precautions
Passwords and encryption are typically the first thoughts that come to mind when you consider digital defenses for your smart home. This isn’t the only consideration you should keep in mind when deciding on your network security strategy. Your home becomes a more viable target for criminals once they’ve learned more about the type of technology and valuables inside. Unfortunately, many homeowners take for granted that this type of information is safe to post on Facebook or other social media accounts. Quite the opposite is true.

Discussing certain things online, like the type of smart devices installed inside your home, provides potential criminals with an idea about the vulnerabilities in your household network. Keep quiet about your home’s security measures, especially when it comes to home automation, in order to minimize criminal interest in your abode.

While smart home hacks aren’t incredibly common, it’s still better to be prepared than to not be prepared and have personal information stolen from you. By taking the time to double check that your network is secure, your passwords are strong and you’re up to date on all your software, you should be well on your way to a secure smart home.

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