As of 2020, there are about 45 million smart homes in the United States alone. According to a report, 28 percent of all households will become intelligent homes by next year. As the popularity of this futuristic marvel grows, questions about security and privacy also become widespread.
The best home security companies for you can indeed make control and monitoring in your home environment convenient and interactive. But if the equipment is capable of connecting to the internet, it can be prone to cyber-attacks. Just like any computer or website, connected smart home security system devices, such as home routers and security cameras, have little or no-built security. This makes it vulnerable to malware. Here are some steps you can take to keep your smart home hack-proof.
- Secure Your Wi-Fi Network. Start by giving your router a name. Don’t keep the one that the manufacturer gave it as it might expose its make or model. Instead, choose a network name that is not associated with you or any personal identifiers, such as your street address. Consider hiding your network from view as well. This is an option you can find in your router settings menu. Similarly, you have to avoid using common words for your passwords. Use a complex combination of letters, numbers, and symbols for all your accounts.
- Use the Latest Encryption Method. Equally important is to use a strong encryption method for your network, such as Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 or WPA2. This is the enhanced variant of its predecessor, WPA. It’s highly recommended to use WPA2 for now as it can better secure your network from unauthorized access. WPA3 is already here, but this new generation security protocol still hasn’t been embraced by the entire home automation ecosystem. Once it has fully rolled out and all your smart home devices support WPA3, you may disable WPA2 connectivity to strengthen your network defenses further.
- Create Multiple Wi-Fi Networks. Many routers let you create multiple networks. It’s highly advisable to create a second network specifically for your smart home security system devices. If criminals hack into your device, they will only be confined to that network and keep them isolated from where you store sensitive information or do your banking. You can also keep your Wi-Fi account private by setting up a guest network. This way, your visitors’ smartphone or computer won’t detect or access your other devices.
- Change Default Usernames and Passwords. As you tap through the home security system app on your smartphone or tablet, ensure that you never stick to the default account created for you. Default usernames and passwords are common in some wireless routers that allow your smart home to run smoothly. One of the first things cybercriminals look for is a list of default accounts since it does half of their work for them. See to it that you change these when setting up your system. Additionally, some devices come with default privacy and security settings. Consider changing that, too.
- Enable Two-factor Authentication (2FA). Most smart home devices still don’t have this feature. But Google Nest, for example, intends to add two-factor authentication this year. Ring and Arlo are planning to do the same thing. If 2FA is available on your smart home security system, enabling it gives another layer of protection. It’s like a second password in case a hacker manages to get past the system’s username and password. The cyber intruder might input the right login information, but they won’t get access without a one-time code that is usually sent to you via email or text message. The best part is that you will also get a notification should a suspicious activity arise. This way, you can change your account details right away.
The hot new gadgets that transform your home into a smarter and more efficient haven offer new entry points for cyber-attacks. But this doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to secure the connected devices throughout your home. Use this simple guide to protect your home from hackers.