Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers with These 12 Tips
Our smart home devices collect a lot of data about us, such as our location, health information, voice recordings, and more. And since we’re trusting them with so much data, we need to ensure that we protect our smart homes from hackers.
The thought of someone getting remote access to our homes might seem like science fiction, but cyber-attacks on smart homes are not uncommon. A 2021 test by Which found as many as 12,000 hacking attempts in a single week!
With the rise of hacking attempts, tech enthusiasts find themselves confronted by a paradox. They buy IoT devices to keep their homes safer and more secure. However, this incredible convenience can quickly turn into an outright nightmare. If someone hacks the smart lock designed to keep you safe and the bad guys out, a hacker can lock you out of your own home!
Luckily, there are many things we can do to avoid someone else spying on us or remotely messing with our locks, thermostats, and other popular smart home devices. Keep reading to discover what you can do to protect your smart home from hackers and cybercriminals.
Here’s How to Protect Smart Home from Hackers
Optimize Your Home WiFi for Safety
Before we move on to more progressive ways to protect your smart home from hackers, let’s start with basic security measures for the home network.
First, change the default WiFi name and password, set up by your ISP. Next, create a strong password that’s hard for hackers to crack. Additionally, make sure to change your WiFi password at least once yearly.
Don’t use sequential numbers or personal information as part of your password. For example, don’t change your WiFi password to 123456 or JohnSmith1970.
Instead, use upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and unusual or made-up words. If you’re not inspired, you can always use a password generator that’ll throw out a sequence of random letters and numbers for you.
Get a Password Manager
Using the same password for all your accounts and devices is tempting. But if you want to protect your smart home from hackers, use a different password for every account you create.
If you use the same password for all your accounts, you might fall victim to credential stuffing. Credential stuffing is a type of cyberattack where criminals use a stolen password from one account to try and access other user accounts.
But how can you remember all those different passwords? The good news is that you don’t have to. Get a password manager, a computer program that helps you generate and save complex passwords. The best password managers with strong encryption include LastPass, 1Password, or Bitwarden.
Create a Guest Network for Your Smart Home Devices
When people connect to your home network, they can gain access to your other devices. And while your guests probably wouldn’t intentionally hack your smart home, it’s still best for you to connect your IoT devices to a guest network rather than your home WiFi.
That’s why most routers come with the ability to set up a guest network, an additional WiFi network with its own password. The WiFi comes from the same router and has a different Service Set Identifier (SSID).
Use your main network for your computers, tablets, and smartphone devices, and use the guest network to set up your smart home. That way, if your computers get hacked, at least your smart home will remain intact.
Check if Your Router Has Firewall
Modern routers come with many security features. To protect your smart home from hackers, make sure your router has a built-in firewall. A firewall helps you keep your network safe. For example, if one device is infected with malware, the firewall can prevent this digital disease from spreading to other devices.
Tip: Older routers don’t automatically come with firewalls. Check to see if yours does and replace your router if it doesn’t.
Update to WiFi 6
WiFi 6 came out in 2019. As the newest wireless technology, it has the best safety protocols. Additionally, it has higher internet speeds, making it the best option for a smart home.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software can continuously scan your home network for malware, viruses, spyware, and other digital dangers. Some anti-virus providers, such as Bitdefender, also come with a password manager and a built-in VPN.
Learn How to Recognize Phishing
Phishing is the most common and successful method of social engineering. Learning how to recognize phishing and protecting yourself from it can go a long way in keeping your data private and secure. After all, most malware comes from our emails.
If you receive suspicious and anxiety-inducing emails, take a breath and pause before reacting. Before clicking on any links, check the sender. Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so make sure you eye every alarming email with a healthy dose of suspicion.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is one of the most important security measures you can implement to protect your personal information online. It means adding a second layer of identification to your login process on top of a password.
Examples of multi-factor authentication include a fingerprint, face ID, or an authenticator app to confirm your identity when logging into your accounts. With multi-factor authentication in place even if hackers obtain your passwords, they won’t be able to access your account.
Choose Your IoT Devices Carefully
The number of IoT devices on the market is increasing but going with the cheapest and newest option is not always the best bet for online safety and security.
Make Sure Your Smart Devices Are Updated
Smart devices are constantly updating their software and firmware to stay as secure as possible. So, to protect your smart home from hackers, it’s best to update devices whenever an update is available. The easiest way is to allow auto-updates. That way, you won’t have to worry about whether your smart devices are up to date.
Turn Off Smart Home Devices When You’re Not Using Them
While it makes sense to keep home security cameras up and running 24/7, our smart gadgets shouldn’t be turned on or connected to the internet if we don’t plan on using them. If you’re going for a vacation, disconnect your voice assistant, smart coffee maker, and other appliances nobody will use in the meantime. When your devices are offline, they’re much less likely to get hacked. Additionally, it’ll help you save energy and money!
Similarly, turn off remote monitoring management if you don’t use your devices away from home. For example, if you have a smart fridge but never adjust the temperature via your phone while at work, you should turn that functionality off altogether.
Let Your ISP Help You Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers with Apps
As users add more and more IoT devices to our home networks, some ISPs are expanding their services from just being internet providers to delivering the best overall online experience. This includes data privacy and ensuring their subscribers can enjoy the internet safely.
For example, Race Communications helps subscribers protect smart homes with their complimentary app, Race CommandIQ. It’s your one-stop shop for setting up guest networks, keeping viruses at bay, and more. Inside you’ll find the free service ProtectIQ which proactively monitors the network traffic coming into your home, automatically blocking anything that looks suspicious. Sends notifications to you whenever a security issue is triggered, these alerts include details about the device that was attacked, where the attack came from, and when the attack occurred.
Key Takeaways: Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
There you have it: our 12 best tips to keep your smart home safe from cybercriminals and hacks. Below is a summary of the key takeaways to keep your home safe.
- Keep your network and smart devices updated to ensure you are up to date on the latest firmware and security measures
- Take advantage of your ISP’s security apps which will help you monitor and block suspicious activities
- Use hard-to-guess passwords and multi-factor authentication, these tactics will make it much harder for hackers to get into your network and devices in the first place.
Want to learn more about ProtectIQ and how Race keeps our customers safe? Give us a call at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry. We’ll help make sure your smart home is not just convenient but also safe!