How to protect your smart home

A smart home has a network of devices that communicate and operate with one another seamlessly to provide convenience and efficiency. Since they’re all connected to the internet, these devices are controlled by the homeowner, usually through a smartphone app. Examples of smart home devices include door locks, thermostats, smoke alarms, coffee machines and security cameras.

Having the ability to connect all of these devices and control them remotely is hugely beneficial for the users. However, smart homes are also targeted by cybercriminals. If just one device is vulnerable, the entire network can become infected with malware. 

How to protect your smart home

So if you’re thinking about making your home digital, keep the following safety tips in mind:  

Make sure your router is secure

In 2018, a new form of malware, called VPNFilter, was introduced to the world in the form of a global cyber attack. The event consisted of over half-a-million routers being infected by cybercriminals.

Once the malware has been implanted, hackers can spread the infection to any devices that are connected to the router. They can also switch the router off completely. And without the internet, you’re smart home can’t function. Most importantly, once a hacker has access to your router, they’ll be able to intercept any information being passed through it, such as passwords, credit card numbers and other private data.

Luckily, there are ways to protect your router from being breached by cybercriminals. You can do frequent factory resets, which consists of simply pressing the reset button on the back of the router and holding it down for 10 to 15 seconds. This will kick the malware out and change all settings back to their defaults. Once you do this, make sure to change the passwords of all devices connected to the router, such as smartphones and televisions.

Also, upgrading to a router with WPA3 (instead of the more vulnerable WPA2) will protect you from most forms of router-centric malware.

Protect your security cameras

According to USA Today, a number of home security cameras in Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Mississippi were breached by cybercriminals in December of 2019. This resulted in many individuals and families being spied on. In one case, a hacker even spoke directly to a child through the speaker of the camera installed in her room.

While it might seem unbelievable, gaining access to security cameras is actually not that hard to do. The easiest strategy for hackers is to just guess the username and password for your login. Many consumers go with the default password that the system comes with, or something very generic. Choosing a unique password for your security tools is an important part of keeping them secure.

Also, if you’re planning on installing a new security system for your smart home, invest in your own safety by purchasing one from a big-name brand. Smaller manufacturers with cheaper products may not be held to the same security standards and are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Always update your software

Older software and applications are easier to infect with malware, so cybercriminals will always target those ones first. By constantly keeping up-to-date with the newest versions, you’ll be one step closer to a secured smart home. Check all of the devices in your home regularly and keep track of when you last updated them. Remember, if just one device is infected, hackers can get access to all of the other devices in your home.

It’s also important to mention that you shouldn’t download any programs or applications from untrusted sources. If it’s not a well-known app, do some research before installing it on your phone or computer. What comes up when you search for the source on Google? What are the reviews like? Only downloading software from official stores (like the Apple App Store or Google Play) is a good rule to live by, since those platforms have rigorous security controls in place.

To learn more about protecting your smart home, visit us at Total Defense today!