Your IP: Unknown · Your Status: Unprotected Protected

Blog How-To

Security tips for your smart home

Apr 17, 2017 · 3 min read

Security tips for your smart home

Smart home technology, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), promises to make our living space more convenient, comfortable and secure.

Everything from security cameras and locks to TVs and thermostats, or all smart gadgets for that matter, can be connected to the Internet today. This means less effort for our daily activities, including cleaning and online shopping. The experience such technology provides is amazing, which is why millions of people around the world have reshaped their homes into smart ones.

However, as we fill our homes with connected devices, it seems like we’re increasingly at risk of being hacked through our thermostats and even doorbells. A recent Wikileaks disclosure shows that CIA has developed tools that can transform smart Samsung TVs into covert surveillance tools. The sheer number of unsecured IoT devices is one of the main reasons for massive DDoS attacks becoming more frequent.

So how do you enhance security of your smart devices? We’ve collected a few tips to make this task easier.

Do your homework when buying devices

Before anything else, think about how suitable your device is for the intended purpose. For instance, smart heating devices and apps ensure that your home is only heated when you’re actually there, and thus can help you cut your energy bills. But how will they affect your heating if your power or internet connection goes down suddenly? Also, it is worth choosing appliances that have dependable security features even if they end up costing more. So, it is important to buy IoT devices from brands that provide regular security updates.

Change default passwords

With so many IoT devices around the world, one of the most widespread security challenges is default login details and configurations, which hackers can use for easy access. That’s actually what happened with the infamous Miraj attack. The first step for enhancing IoT security should be changing those factory defaults.

2-step authentication

When you enable 2-step authentication, you add an extra layer of security to your account. You use two different elements to sign in: something you know (your password) and something you have (a code you receive by a text message). This approach has become popular for email, cloud storage and other accounts, and you should also use it for smart devices wherever possible.

Create a separate network for your devices

Many wireless routers allow you to set up separate guest networks to keep untrusted visitors off your regular network. Consult your router’s manual to create at least one separate network for your IoT devices and connect them there. The more you segment your networks, the harder it is for hackers to access all of your devices and information. We also recommend disabling Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) and using only Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) to secure the networks.

Make sure you have the latest firmware

If you want to make sure you have the latest security patches and reduce the chances of a successful hacking attack, you need to keep all your firmware fully updated. New vulnerabilities and exploits will be fixed as they emerge, so you need to update your IoT devices and your router regularly. Set automatic updates wherever possible or make a note to check for updates every three months or so.

Do you have any smart devices at home? If so, do you take any specific security measures? Let us know in the comment section!

Christina Craig
Christina Craig successVerified author

Christina is a community manager and the heart, the voice and the soul of NordVPN. She is always up for a conversation with our community of users and blog readers.

Subscribe to NordVPN blog