Smart home products are a great way to make your life easier and more convenient. However, they can also be an opportunity for hackers who want access to all of your data or compromise your network.
How can you enjoy the benefits of a smart home while keeping your smart home devices secure?
These 7 privacy and security tips will show you how to secure your smart home devices without too much time or effort.
1. Create a Strong Wi-Fi Password
Most smart home products connect through Wi-Fi. As a result, the key to a secure smart home is a strong Wi-Fi password.
The best way to create a strong Wi-Fi password is by using an eight-character minimum length password that includes uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers. This will make your device much more difficult for hackers to guess which means you’ll have higher security.
You can also prevent people from accessing your primary Wi-Fi network if you enable a guest network. A guest network (typically used for visiting friends or colleagues) can usually be set up quickly with just a few settings on the router or Wi-Fi app.
This will prevent devices from connecting to your primary network with your smart home devices, which makes them less likely to be compromised by viruses or malware.
2. Use Strong Passwords for Every Device
After securing your Wi-Fi, the next step is to ensure every smart home device in your home has a unique and strong password.
Remember, a strong password should include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use passwords like “1234” or “password.”
Also, do not use passwords that are easy to guess, like your birthday. Too many people use their birth year as the pin on their smart lock. Yes…you should go change that right now. 🙂
Don’t forget to change the default password on your smart security cameras. These passwords are known by hackers and can be quickly guessed.
3. Setup Two-Factor Authentication if Possible
Now that you have strong passwords, it’s time to turn on two-factor authentication.
Two-Factor Authentication, or “two-step verification,” provides additional security by requiring an extra password besides the one you use for your login credentials.
This second code could be a text message or email code that you must enter to verify who you are when logging into your smart device account.
Two-factor authentication dramatically increases the difficulty of hacking your accounts or devices. Check the security information for your devices to see if this is an option and, if so, set it up immediately. Two-factor authentication is especially important for security cameras that have access to the internet (Ring, Arlo, Nest, etc.).
Now, you are using two-factor authentication. Great job! This will make your home much safer and give you peace of mind.
4. Setup Automatic Software Updates on all Devices
The next step in securing your smart home is ensuring your device software is up to date.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your devices is to set up automatic software updates. Make sure all of the smart home products in your house have this setting enabled.
Also, always keep an eye on your phone apps so you are aware when new security patches are released for any of your devices.
This will ensure that you not only have the most recent features but also the most recent security patches that are available to protect your home.
Unpatched smart home devices are one of the mains ways that hackers gain access to your home.
This means that that you should check all of your devices today to make sure there aren’t any updates available.
5. Keep Track of Who has Your Security Codes and Keys
Smart locks and smart garage door openers are incredibly convenient and useful.
It is really easy to give your neighbor or brother the smart code to your home so they can check the mail when you are on vacation. It’s handy to give your dog walker a code so they can walk Fido every day. It’s simple to give your cleaning service the key so your home is clean when you arrive.
You get the point.
Before you know it, you have security keys to your home in the hands of multiple people.
Unfortunately, it is just as easy to forget who has access to your home with these keys.
This is why you should need a way to track who has your code and access to your home.
As a best practice, you should use individual pins for each person who has a code to access your home. This way, you will know exactly who is entering your home and when they tried to enter.
Most smart locks allow you to manage users and set unique pins in the phone app. This allows you to easily add or revoke access as needed.
It also means you won’t forget who has access to open your garage door.
Have a plan for how to secure your smart home by having a plan for who has access to your security codes.
6. Delete Voice Recordings on Smart Home Assistants
Smart home assistants like Alexa and Google Home have become a central part of our homes.
They act as a digital personal assistant who can help you find time-saving advice, order food or services, and control your smart home devices with just the sound of their voice. They really make life easier in a lot of ways!
These assistants provide tons of convenience, but they also store a lot of personal information about us.
For this reason, it is important to periodically delete the stored voice recordings from your smart speakers.
Smart home speakers, such as Alexa or Google Play, allow you to control how long these voice recordings are stored and easily delete any voice recordings manually.
Check your privacy settings and change voice recording storage to the shortest option available. Also, remember that you can manually delete voice recordings if you believe something sensitive was recorded by your smart home assistant.
7. Minimize Security Cameras Inside Your Home
The final tip for securing your smart home is to reconsider the number of security cameras inside your home. Cameras are an excellent tool for detecting and preventing crime, but there is a tradeoff with privacy.
If you want to place cameras inside your home, then avoid placing them in sensitive areas such as bedrooms. You can get quality cameras at affordable prices which makes it easy to scatter them all around your home. However, the tradeoff in privacy isn’t worth the increase in security.
Instead, I recommend investing in more cameras monitoring all the entry and exit points of your home. This can include cameras inside and outside. For example, an indoor camera pointed at your front door gives you additional security and comfort without capturing private moments in your own home.
Conclusion – How to Secure Your Smart Home
Smart home devices continue to change our lives for the better. The bottom line is that your home security and safety should be a top priority if you plan to use smart home devices in your home.
There are several simple steps you can take to secure your smart devices and protect your data.
However, using strong passwords on all your devices is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from cybercriminals looking for vulnerabilities in IoT products.
It may seem time-consuming at first, but it is worth the effort. You will be much more comfortable knowing that hackers cannot access any of your data or control any other aspects of your life through these internet-enabled gadgets.
What other advice do you have for securing your smart home products? Share your thoughts in the comments below.