Are smart home devices safe and secure?
Posted by Janine Lam on
Your smart device holds the key to your ability to communicate, gain access to information, and control other devices within your home or office. These smart devices control almost everything in our daily lives, thanks to the Internet, from home security and heating, to appliances, lighting, and even allows you to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).
For many who live on-the-go lifestyles, this is very convenient. How often, though, do we step back to consider the impact of this innovative technology? Security experts will tell you that not enough thought is given to the security of these devices or to the threat they pose to your privacy. "If it's smart, it's vulnerable," says Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for Finland-based F-Secure, a digital security company.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally, an increase in attacks on computers, smartphones and other devices connected to the Internet more than doubled compared to the months before the pandemic emerged.
As more and more household devices connect on the Internet, the possibility that hackers and criminals can access those devices remotely increases. Even things like your digital refrigerator, oven and thermostat give hackers access to your information.
Today, most homes have plug-in sensors, cameras, voice-activated hubs, smart lights, and connected power sockets. But without a secure local network, each new gadget represents a potential access point for cyber-hackers.
How do I keep my information secure?
To ensure that you aren't a target, establishing a secure and solid network for your IoT and security devices to communicate over is imperative. Setting up a firewall is ultimate security if you want to ensure privacy and security.
A good firewall must work with your VPN, encrypting all data that moves through your home network. This is the only way to encrypt data from most IoT devices.
Hackers can steal and misuse your personal information and banking details and even take control of those smart cameras or microphones to spy on you. Ensuring that your network is safe means investing in suitable, reputable devices. You must also invest some time and energy in securing it.
Complex and unique passwords for your accounts are essential and effective in safeguarding access to your network. However, ensure that you change the network name and password on your router or gateway too.
Give your security another layer of protection by creating guest networks for your smart home devices. This will create a barrier between hackers and your emails, bank accounts, and other sensitive information.
Choose reputable service providers for your internet access and for the devices your purchase and keep software updated and disconnect your devices where possible.
Two-factor authentication may add an extra step to your login process. Still, it bolsters your security by making your account harder to hack as it requires a second piece of information.
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