Houses are getting smarter every day, but that intelligence does not always extend to the security of those devices. Security experts have long warned about the lack of security on connected devices, and the so-called internet of things is often a weak spot, one that hackers and criminals could easily exploit.
So does the lack of built-in security mean you should abandon your dreams of a smart home? Should you give up the convenience these devices would otherwise bring and remain in your 20th century home even as the 21st century ticks forward?
If you are willing to take some proactive steps, you really can have it all. The convenience of a smart home can coexist with security and privacy - if you know how to do it.
Here are 10 safety tips to secure your smart home and connected devices.
Turn off unnecessary features.
Smart home devices are loaded with features, including some you may never use. Take the time to turn off features you have no use for.
Research the security history of device makers.
Some manufacturers of smart home devices are better at security than others, so do your homework before you buy.
Stick to a single smart home infrastructure.
Mixing and matching devices from different providers could create additional security holes in your home network, so build your smart home based on a single infrastructure.
Change default passwords right away.
For password-enabled devices, make sure you change the credentials as soon as possible. Default passwords are a common entry point and a tempting path of attack for hackers.
Set up a guest network for your smart devices.
Setting up a guest network is a great way to separate your smart home devices from the rest of your at-home infrastructure. Most modern routers support multiple networks, and the setup is generally quite simple.
Secure your router.
Your router is the key to your network security, so make sure it is properly secured. Assign your router a unique name, lock it down with a strong password and use software to protect it from would-be attackers.
Conduct a security audit.
If you already have smart home devices set up, conduct a security audit to make sure they are properly secured. You can never be too careful when your privacy is at stake.
Keep your software up to date.
Outdated software is another popular gateway for smart home hackers, so make sure you apply security patches and upgrades as they become available.
Turn on two-factor authentication when available.
Two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security for your smart home appliances and other connected devices, so use it whenever and wherever you can.
Recheck your devices after a power outage.
An extended power outage could wipe out security settings and put your smart home devices back to their default states. Check each device on your home network after a power outage and update passwords and security settings if necessary.
From light bulbs and televisions to microwaves and refrigerators, virtually every appliance in the home is getting smarter. Unfortunately, the security settings on these connected devices are not always as intelligent. If you want to protect yourself, your home and your privacy, you need to take security into your own hands. The 10 safety tips listed above can help you secure your smart home devices, so you can enjoy all the convenience without all the risk.