Smart home technology has made our daily lives easier and more automated, but it also opened the virtual door to intruders and hackers. As smart home technology grows, so do the risks of being hacked, which can stop some customers from adopting these amazing technologies for their homes. There have been some scary stories lately of hackers tapping into security cameras and other technology, but with the proper precautions, you will make your home incredibly safe from hackers.
Keep your smart home safe with these tips.
Use Strong Passwords
We've all heard it countless times, but having a strong password really is the first step against hackers and is enough to keep most out of your devices. However, many people prioritize creating passwords that are easy to remember (or that don't change) over their home's security. The best passwords are a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Longer, “pass phrases” or sentences also work well. As a rule of thumb, change your passwords every time you add a new device to the network, or at least every few months.
Be Selective With Smart Home Devices
The growth of smart home technology means that not every product is created equally. Before bringing something into your home that could put your privacy and safety at risk, be sure to do your research. In general, use products from brands you are familiar with—bigger brands typically have more updates and better customer service just in case hacking does occur.
Update Apps and Firmware
Most people generally remember to update their smartphone apps but updating the apps and firmware in smart devices around the house can be a different story. Just like mobile apps, smart devices are constantly being updated and often come out with updates to increase performance, remove bugs, or improve safety. Using an old version of a device's firmware makes it easier for hackers to attack because the firmware is vulnerable and not running at its full potential.
Watch the Wi-Fi Network
Putting smart home devices on a public wireless internet network makes them much easier to hack and makes them more visible to hackers. Instead, opt for a private home network that has a strong password and network protection. To be even safer, security experts recommend putting your smart home devices on a separate wireless network from your home computer, which greatly reduces the risk of hacking across devices.
Turn Off Unused Devices
It can be tempting to always leave every device plugged in and turned on, but that just gives hackers more opportunities to find a way in. Powering down your router or smart home devices that don’t need to be on all the time, can keep your network more secure.
Smart home devices are powerful tools, but by following these tips, you’ll increase their safely and help keep digital intruders out of your home.