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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!