7 Tips to Secure Your Smart Home and IoT Devices

Digital security has become among the most important issues since the turn of the century. While a significant number of people may associate hacking with large corporations and government institutions, most cyberattacks target small businesses and individuals. Often, unlike larger corporations and government institutions, small and medium businesses and individuals have less advanced security measures and protocols. Regardless of size, there is still significantly valuable information that hackers may acquire from unwitting individuals. This includes credit card and banking information, access codes to secure locations and access to confidential information.

Smart homes and smart devices are also under threat. Smart home security has become an important component of privacy. Devices that have access to the internet of things (IoT) are able to communicate with each other via a wireless network and have enabled people to use access to their homes in innovative ways.

Just as a secure smart home is vital, IoT security is vital because, unfortunately, the access of IoT to your main network also creates an access point for malicious actors that could break into your house, steal or vandalize property, physically harm or kidnap the occupants or remotely tamper with your home. Just as locks on doors and windows are essential, smart home security is a vital component of securing your space. Below are actionable tips that you should implement if you have a secure smart home.

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1. Wi-Fi Password Security

The most basic approach to internet security is the use of secure passwords. A common way that Wi-Fi networks are breached is through the use of easily hackable passwords. Considering that software and AI are developing at a rapid rate, the use of simple passwords is now a way to make your network vulnerable. Another prudent practice is to not use the same password for different accounts and to change it regularly. However, these practices are a hurdle for larger families with multiple individuals using the same network. Services like Team Password enable families to share secure log-ins and passwords, even when they are regularly altered. This is done through password synchronization across different accounts. Should one family member experience a hack and a password change is required, there would be no need to go through the hurdles of sharing a new secure password.

2. Updating IoT Devices

In certain cases, a weak point in the software or firmware of a device may be discovered and an update is required to patch that weak link. Failing to update devices connected to your network regularly could leave your home vulnerable to hackers. The best approach is to ensure that the settings on the device automatically and regularly check for updates. For certain devices, automatic installation may be acceptable, but for others that are critical to your security, such as a device capable of unlocking a door, it may be better to schedule updates manually at a reasonable time. IoT (Internet of Things) Security can be robust when constantly updated, rather than neglected. When a weakness is discovered in IoT security, the businesses that maintain the devices will patch the gap holes and it is up to you to make sure that the updates are installed onto the device.

3. Firewall and Antivirus Software

It is not uncommon that unprotected devices are infiltrated by malicious code. There are all kinds of computer viruses and undesirable programs that could access your system and compromise your security. Defensive software such as antivirus programs and firewalls should always be kept up to date.

4. Router Security

While many individuals will change the names of their wi-fi networks and use secure passwords for them, one access point that is neglected is the router itself. Hackers may get access to your network if you leave the default settings, such as administrator usernames and passwords. Not everyone in your household will need access to router settings. Regardless, the same prudent approach to secure access to the Wi-Fi should be used for the router password. A service like Team Passwordmakes this an easy task.

5. Separate IoT Network

The network that controls your devices requires a higher level of security than that which, for example, your house guests use. A reasonable approach is to create two networks with your IoT devices on their own network.

6. Device Access and Permissions

Some devices are always on and surveilling either visually or audibly. These could be used by hackers to access information or images that could be used in a harmful way. Also, be wary of the permissions granted to certain devices. If a particular device requests permission to access the information it does not need, disable the function.

7. Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is an important approach to security. Use your phone or a third-party app like an authenticator. In the event that you are hacked on any email, device or account, two-factor and multifactor authentication will ensure that no one else will access any vital information or accounts without your phone or the app that is used for multifactor authentication. Regardless of your approach in this security, passphrases, which are complicated versions of passwords, have proven to be effective. Password lockers are an effective way to ensure that you will not forget even the most complicated of passphrases and link them to all devices.

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