Over the past eighteen months, there has been a wide range of data breaches, but how secure is your connected home in general?
The thoughtless answer, "Probably much less secure than you might imagine.”
IoT brings a tremendous amount of connected devices into the home. The dark flipside is that cybercriminals are now benefiting from many new entry points into your home.
Before we give you ten handy hints for ramping up cybersecurity in the smart home, why should you care?
Why Is Cyber Security a Smart Home Issue?
What’s the difference between a standard instance of computer hacking and an attack on your IoT devices?
Well, if someone compromises your connected home, your data could easily be leaked.
Imagine what would happen if someone hacks a single device and then obtains all your WiFi credentials.
Perhaps worse, what if a cybercriminal gains access to your smart thermostat and learns when you'll be away so they can burgle your home? It's unlikely, but it could happen.
Luckily, you can fight back in several ways, and none of these approaches to cybersecurity at home involve dipping into your pocket either.
So, without further ado, here are ten workable ways to tighten up at security at home.
10 Ways To Make Your Connected Home More Secure
- Upgrade Your Route
- Set Up a Guest WiFi Network
- Keep Passwords Robust and Security-Conscious
- Secure Your Network Fully
- Embrace Two-Factor Authentication
- Stay On Top Of Software Updates
- Don’t Manage Your Smart Devices From Public WiFi Networks
- Disable Unnecessary Features
- Use Biometric Authentication When Available
- Make Sure You Have a Firewall and Security Software In Place
1) Update Your Router
Back in 2018, the VPNFilter malware infected more than a half-million routers in 50 countries.
This malware rendered many routers inoperable.
Malware can compromise your router and steal passwords and data.
Norton offers a free online tool to check your router for VPNFilter malware.
As a matter of routine, you should reset your router periodically. Once a week is more than enough. If you’re using an old router, you should consider an upgrade. Start from firm foundations, and you'll keep the risk of a security breach to an absolute minimum.
2) Set Up a Guest WiFi Network
You shouldn’t feel bad about setting up a guest network.
While as 2020 looms, guests might naturally expect internet access when they’re visiting, they’ve got no need for full access to all your settings.
If you’ve got a house filled with tech-savvy teens and their friends, you’re much better off not providing more than basic internet service without access to everything.
You can extend this by creating separate network identities or SSIDs. Keep one of these purely for security-conscious tasks like internet banking while reserving the other network for regular browsing and device management. That way, you'll reduce the risk of any data being stolen in a security breach.
3) Keep Passwords Robust and Security-Conscious
What’s the first thing you should do when you’ve got any IoT device up and running?
Change the password; that's what.
Sadly, entirely, 15% of users leave the default passwords in place, which is reckless.
You should resist the temptation to use passwords that are easy for you to remember or involve personal data like date of birth. Instead, avoid common words, include numbers and symbols, and consider using a password manager so you won’t forget your super-strong password.
4) Secure Your Network Fully
Within your router settings, be sure to amp up your security to use the WPA2 protocol.
WEP might still be the most common protocol, but it's much weaker and far more vulnerable to attack.
These small details could mean the difference between business as usual or a data breach. Don’t overlook the small stuff.
5) Embrace Two-Factor Authentication
We know, we know, two-factor authentication or 2FA can be a pain. It could also protect you against a cyber attack.
After signing in with a username and password, you’ll be prompted to use a second strand of security to verify your ID. You'll get a 6-digit code pinged to your smartphone, which, of course, a cybercriminal won't have to hand.
Which do you prioritize more, slightly swifter log-ins or upgraded security? We thought so!
6) Stay On Top Of Software Updates
If you’re accustomed to swiping away and ignoring software updates, you might want to rethink that in the smart home.
Smart devices often have patches released to counter any potential security weak spots. While it would be ideal if these were automatically applied, that’s not always the case.
Pay equal attention to security on your mobile device. Keep that smartphone updated, so you don't dip out on any strengthening of security for the sake of sixty seconds of effort.
7) Don’t Manage Your Smart Devices From Public WiFi Networks
While it can be tempting to continually check in on smart devices, resist the temptation to do so from an unsecured public WiFi network.
While you could always use a VPN to beef up security, it's better to practice to sidestep accessing your IoT devices from this type of setting.
8) Disable Unnecessary Features
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t need a feature or setting on any given smart device, disable it.
If you don’t use remote access, for example, leave it out of the equation.
Sometimes, less is more. Enjoy a more streamlined and less bloated user experience while fractionally increasing security.
9) Use Biometric Authentication When Available
Biometric ID removes much of the possibility of a security breach.
If you’ve got a smart lock like Ultraloq, fingerprint recognition removes any reasonable chance of foul play.
Unfortunately, this functionality doesn’t currently encompass too many devices.
10) Make Sure You Have a Firewall and Security Software In Place
Last but certainly not least, make sure you’ve got robust antivirus and security software in place and don’t neglect a firewall, either.
Apply all of the above tips, and you can massively improve smart home cybersecurity without needing to spend a cent.
If you bear these tips in mind, you’ll have much more chance of keeping cybercriminals at bay and remaining safe in your connected home.
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