Is Your Information Secure with Home Automation?
Updated: Jul 5
Smart homes and automation are rapidly becoming more popular. Home automation can include everything from automated lighting, Amazon's Alexa to home security. However, one thing remains constant for all of it: the internet.
Your wireless network is a doorway to your personal and financial information and using home automation can make your house vulnerable to a break-in. An unsecured Wi-Fi network connected to smart home gadgets or your security system could give criminals direct access to your home or personal information. But you don’t have to leave yourself vulnerable. Use our tips and tricks to keep hackers off your home network.
Here are some basic tips you can use to boost your network security at any time, even if you don't have home automation:
Secure your wireless router!
Always change the default login and password for the router.
Enable WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or WPA2 encryption on your network.
Rename and hide your home network.
Ensure your router firmware is up to date.
Secure your computer(s)!
Use a firewall.
Install antivirus and malware protection.
Use strong passwords, and change old ones that may be at risk.
Secure your smart phone!
Set a PIN code or password to access your device.
Many of us are permanently logged in to many apps on our phones. You are carrying around direct access to much of your personal information
Research the Product: Purchase products from manufacturers who employ the latest security practices. Look for encryption standards and ask about basic security settings. Also find out whether the smart home provider offers automatic updates. If you can’t change the password and username or need to manually install patches and updates, you may want to forego one brand’s smart home device for another.
Two-Factor Authentication: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) provides an added layer of security to your devices. You could use a security key that is received on your phone, or fingerprint recognition (in some cases) to keep intruders away from your smart devices and the apps that control them.
Be cautious with third-party applications: Some devices work through their companion apps alone, while others allow third-party developers to build their own apps. Third-party apps can have problematic loopholes, so ensure the devices you use regulate those secondary applications.
Stay Updated: Make sure any apps your smart devices use stay up to date. Firmware updates are important to keep the app and device running securely, bug fixes and new features. Falling behind on updates can put your entire network at risk of a security breach.
Keep a list of passwords: more devices equals more passwords. Follow good security practices by using a unique password for each device. Make a list of your passwords and store it somewhere safe.
Think Networks, Not Devices: The weakest link in home automation often is the home network. Double- and triple-guard it with passcodes, guest access networks, firewalls, and parental controls. You can even set up a dedicated network just for smart devices, which you can do with many newer modems and routers.
Protect kids with parental control software: If you’ve got little ones, chances are they go online for both homework and fun. Keep them safe from online predators and cyber bullies with a parental control app, router, or software package. These tools can even help you limit screen time and enforce device-free family dinners.
Don’t be afraid to invest in the smart home — just be aware!
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