If you started hearing a noise and spooky voices, or if the temperature in your home has inexplicably begun to change. Don’t call a psychic just yet – it may be just your gadgets playing tricks on you. How to secure your smart home devices is the top question in gadget category. Cybercriminals don’t necessarily mean to turn your home into a haunted mansion just for the sake of it – smart devices are an excellent opportunity to gain access to your home network and devices that contain a plethora of personal information.
Therefore, we gathered some of the most common cybersecurity threats every smart device could face. Added a few tips and tricks on handling them.
Table of Content
- 1 SMART HOME DEVICE SECURITY RISKS
- 2 1. Lack of data encryption
- 3 2. Smart devices voice recordings
- 4 3. Outdated Software and Firmware
- 5 How to secure your smart home devices
- 6 1. Strengthen your router security
- 7 2. Configure your privacy settings
- 8 3. Use a multi-factor authentication
- 9 4. Set up separate networks
- 10 5. Create strong credentials
- 11 6. Avoid location tracking
- 12 SUM UP,
SMART HOME DEVICE SECURITY RISKS
1. Lack of data encryption
Encryption is at the backbone of every successful security strategy. Meaning that if you genuinely care about a piece of information. You’ll want to cipher it and store it somewhere out of everyone’s reach. Unfortunately, there are probably quite a few essential gadgets in your home that still don’t include any type of encryption. How to secure your smart home devices is the main problem every single person facing.
Most smart home devices are connected to a cloud-based service, and users can control them through an app or a web portal. Still, those connections are rarely encrypted, meaning that third parties can potentially intercept your data and use it for various malicious purposes. Hence, do thorough research and try implementing encryption in every level of your security strategy that you can.
2. Smart devices voice recordings
Smart devices often record everyday conversations without your knowledge to further improve and develop services based on speech recognition. The Mon(IoT)r research group at Northeastern University in Boston wanted to dig deeper into the recording habits of our voice assistants, and they concluded that most of them record our conversations in a few second intervals. Your data feeds the system and improves its features, but it can become a privacy issue if you’re not careful since they also record your most private conversations with family and friends.
3. Outdated Software and Firmware
Scientists at the Institute for Internet Security at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences conducted research to analyze software across more than 5.6 million websites. They concluded that only six percent of those websites were running on fully updated software.
Having said that, one of the most often overlooked threats is software and firmware that haven’t been adequately taken care of. Thus, installing antimalware isn’t enough – you have to regularly update it since it will provide your system with necessary security patches and get rid of bugs and other issues.
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How to secure your smart home devices
1. Strengthen your router security
If you think of your router only when you have to dust it off every once in a while. You’re probably putting all your home devices at risk. Like any other piece of technology. How to secure your smart home devices then routers need a regular software update to fight off potential security threats and improve their functionality by adding improved features. The safest option is to turn on automatic updates on your router as soon as you get it. But you may have to set up updates manually if you have an older type of router.
The best thing to do is to visit your router manufacturer’s website every once in a while and check if they have available updates for your model. Furthermore, the Remote Management option can allow you to configure and monitor your router regardless of your location, but it’s also a security loophole that can easily endanger your system. Also, make sure to check which encryption protocol your router uses since some protocols like WEP or WPA tend to be less secure than newer ones like WEP2.
2. Configure your privacy settings
A study from 2008 concluded that it would take 224 hours per year for an average internet user to read all privacy policies on all the websites they visit. For that reason, most of us developed a bad habit of scrolling through privacy policies and simply clicking ‘Consent’ without truly reading the conditions we’re signing up to.
However, there’s always an option of configuring your privacy settings once you start using the gadget or service. Ensure to check what types of data you’re sharing with your service provider. Do they store it, for how long, and the sole purpose of keeping your personal information. Also, a good rule of thumb when it comes to sharing your personal information is keeping it at the bare minimum. How to secure your smart home devices give them only information. That is crucial for registration or proper functioning of their services.
3. Use a multi-factor authentication
If you run on a skillful hacker, password protection over your accounts won’t do much since commonly used passwords like ‘password1’ and ‘qwerty123’ can be broken in a matter of seconds. In fact, Passwarden’s research showed that it takes only 0.19 milliseconds to crack simple passwords shorter than eight characters. To put it in perspective, an average eye blink takes approximately 100 to 150 milliseconds.
Thus, consider switching to multi-factor authentication to give your security system a little boost. An MFA relies on the premise that you need to protect your accounts with ‘the things you know’ like passwords. Which most commonly include a device or a token key, and with ‘things you are’ that usually refers to biometric factors. Like fingerprints, face scans, and voice recognition. This way, if someone tries to break into your account. They’ll have to obtain all verification factors to succeed, which is highly improbable.
4. Set up separate networks
Those who can’t imagine their lives without gadgets should make sure to keep their IoT devices on separate networks since hackers are more likely to get data from devices connected to the same network. Considering that your smart lock doesn’t have to be connected to the same network as your laptop to function correctly. There is no good reason to connect all your devices. Otherwise, if hackers gain access to one of your gadgets, they can easily collect all data they come by.
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However, there are various tools and programs that can help you manage and split your network so that you can separate devices. How to secure your smart home devices with valuable data like laptops or phones from other smart devices. Don’t store important information but can pose a security threat if attacked. Another option is to use the segmentation feature that most routers nowadays have. This way, you’ll be able to create separate networks or VLANs that’ll stay connected to the same router.
5. Create strong credentials
Even though they’re not the most reliable means of protection, passwords are still alive and kicking. It seems that they won’t go away any time soon. However, Broadband Genie’s research shows that 82 percent of respondents never changed their administrator-assigned router password, which can become a problem since frequently companies use the same password for the whole range of the same model routers.
Make sure to create at least a twelve characters long password for your router that contains a unique combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, and try to change it every 60 to 90 days. The same goes for your router name – change your manufacturer-assigned name into something more complex. Unrelated to you as soon as you get it because if someone tries to target your network specifically. You can confuse them with changing the name.
6. Avoid location tracking
We know that our phones and smartwatches track every move we make. Most people don’t mind the tracking as long as they’re aware as long as they see a personal benefit from it. However, many gadgets monitor their users without anyone knowing. For example, Nest – Google’s smart device line recently came under scrutiny because users argued that they’ve been spied on and that Nest has been gathering too much data about their everyday lives. To set the right temperature just before you come home from work, the Google Nest thermostat.
Will continuously track your movements to see when you’re at home and where you spend most of your time. However, it also tracks your snoring, coughing, and basically every move you make. Thus, if you think this kind of monitoring tends to step the line. How to secure your smart home devices you can always turn off the tracking option and microphone on your devices. Also, if you don’t like the idea of Google storing data about your private life on their servers, make sure to delete any previously stored data regularly.
Technology can do wonders to make our lives easier and more convenient, but it all comes with a price. Since our lives are getting busier every day. How to secure your smart home devices and we don’t consciously think about our quid pro quo relationship with big technology companies. It’s nice to stop for a moment and consider how it will affect us in the future. Even though going analog from time to time tends to be good for us. Everyday struggles often force us to embrace technology. However, it doesn’t mean that we should be careless. Educate yourself about potential threats to your privacy and security and implement these strategies to avoid any cybersecurity loopholes.