Smart home devices are caught in a strange gray area between computers and home appliances. Nobody thinks about cyber security when they look at their coffee pot, but in this brave new world, it might be time to think about the security of your home Wi-Fi network while you brew your morning cup of coffee.
There seem to be more reports every day of new ways to hack once-secured networks, such as this one from the New York Times about using a laser to hack a voice assistant.
Hackers are creative and they only get more creative over time, but you don’t have to rid your home of smart devices. Here are the steps you can take to protect your smart home from hackers.
Gone are the days when a single password was enough to secure your network. A single password, however complex and secure, is rarely enough to protect your information.
By implementing multi-factor authentication for all your accounts, you add an additional layer of security that is much more difficult to overcome. While this can add a few seconds to your login while you check the code on your phone, it is much better than discovering that your accounts have been hacked after the fact.
If your account offers the option to use a randomized authenticator, use it. Random authentication codes are even more secure than multi-factor authentication The downside is that their availability is usually limited to high-level accounts such as a business login.
Keep devices out of public sight
The idea that a hacker uses a laser to hack into a smart device sounds a little ridiculous, but has proven to be effective. Smart devices can register light as well as sound waves, which can give a smart hacker an easy way to break into a network.
While the average home is unlikely to be the target of such a sophisticated method, it is still wise to keep the devices out of sight of your home. After all, smart home devices are expensive and can be a tempting target for idlers.
Keep your devices up to date
Manufacturers regularly release updates to protect devices from newly discovered vulnerabilities. This is one of the reasons why it is highly recommended to update the operating system software; The new update fixes any exploits or backdoors that could be used to access the system with proper authorization.
While many smart home devices use apps that update automatically, sometimes firmware updates need to be done manually. Monitor your devices for the latest updates and make sure they are installed.
You also need to keep an eye on the permissions that various apps ask for. Apps can ask for a wide range of permissions, but this usually involves several things: access to the microphone, sometimes access to the camera, and whatever permissions they need to complete their task.
If a specific resolution seems inappropriate or unnecessary, investigate it. Don’t give permission just because the app asks for it; find out why he needs this access at all.
Sticking to Trustworthy Brands
The smart home industry is developing rapidly. While this is great news for the industry itself (and for consumers as competition leads to lower prices and better deals), make sure you trust the manufacturer.
If the product belongs to a brand you’ve never heard of, take the time to find out if that brand is trustworthy. If it does not have an impeccable reputation or other users report security issues, it is recommended that you transfer that particular device.
Companies such as Philips Hue, Samsung and August have established themselves as market leaders for the quality of their devices and the number of security protocols used to protect users. Major companies care about their bottom line, and they know any major security breach will hurt that.
These companies also have the opportunity to invest in better security methods that will ultimately help protect your smart home from hackers.
Do not use the same password and username for every device
When you have many different smart home devices, it’s easy to use the same username and password for everyone. After all, it is difficult to remember many different passwords, but no matter how difficult it is, use a different password and username for all of your devices.
Otherwise, if a hacker figures out the login credentials for just one device, he can take that information and use it to access other devices on the same network.
With this in mind, make sure your email address has all of these security protocols. Use two-factor authentication, a strong password, and whatever you can to protect it.
Many smart home devices are accessed through your email account, allowing a hacker to request a password reset if he or she ever gains access. Take appropriate measures to protect your email just like any other device on your network.