Smart homes have become a ubiquitous part of modern living. It doesn’t even seem unusual anymore to tell your refrigerator to add milk to the digital grocery list.
Smart homes offer unparalleled convenience and efficiency. You can control your lights and thermostat with a smartphone app. And have a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa at your beck and call. But as we embrace the convenience, it’s essential to consider the potential risks. As well as take proactive steps to ensure that your smart home doesn’t turn against you.
Recent headlines have shed light on the vulnerabilities of smart home technology. Such as the story in the New York Post’s article titled “Locked Out & Hacked: When Smart Homes Turn on Owners”.
The article describes smart home nightmares. Including the new owner of a smart home that unexpectedly got locked in. The prior owner had left pre-programmed settings. Suddenly at 11:30 p.m., the home told him it was time to go to bed and locked every door in the house.
Another technology victim was a woman terrorised by lights and sounds at home. Her ex-partner was maliciously manipulating the smart technology.
As homes get smarter, how can you avoid a similar experience? We’ll explore some key strategies to protect your home and your privacy.
Smart Home Safety Tips You Need to Use
1. Secure Your Network
The foundation of any smart home is its network. Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door wide open, you shouldn’t neglect Wi-Fi security.
Here are best practices:
- Change your router’s default password to something strong and unique.
- Use WPA3 encryption. (Look for Wi-Fi 6 as a minimum)
- Create a separate guest network to isolate your smart devices from your main network.
- Regularly update your router’s firmware. Ensure it’s equipped with the latest security patches.
2. Strengthen Device Passwords
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Many smart home device manufacturers offer 2FA as an extra layer of security. By enabling 2FA you can keep people out. This is true even if someone manages to guess your password. They won’t be able to get past the secondary authentication step. This provides an extra safeguard against unauthorised access.
4. Regularly Update Firmware
5. Vet Your Devices
6. Isolate Sensitive Devices
Consider segregating your most sensitive devices onto a separate network, if possible. For example, use a dedicated network for:
- Smart locks.
- Security cameras.
- And other critical devices.
This keeps them separate from your less critical gadgets. Such as smart bulbs or speakers. This way, even if a hacker compromises one network, the other devices remain secure.
7. Review App Permissions
Smart home apps often request access to various permissions on your devices. Before granting these permissions, scrutinise what data the app is trying to access. Decide whether it’s necessary for the device’s functionality. Restrict permissions to the least required for the device to operate.
8. Be Cautious with Voice Assistants
Voice-activated assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are incredibly convenient. But can also pose privacy risks. Review your voice assistant’s privacy settings. Be cautious about what information you share with them. Consider muting the microphone when you’re not actively using it. This prevents unintended eavesdropping.
9. Check Your Devices Regularly
10. Understand Your Device’s Data Usage
11. Stay Informed
Finally, stay informed about the latest developments in smart home security. Subscribe to security newsletters. Follow reputable blogs, like this one for example. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to protect your smart home.
Get Expert Help With Smart Home Security
Smart homes offer incredible convenience. But they also come with risks you shouldn’t ignore. Do you need some expert help setting up your smart home security?
Give us a call today to schedule a chat.