5 free ways to keep your smart home secure
Received exciting new smart gadgets over the holiday season? Here are 5 free ways to keep your smart home secure.
Most homes are smart homes but convenience comes at a price - a lot of devices can be vulnerable points of access into your home network.
A majority of us live in smart homes, with multiple devices talking to the cloud, connected to our Wi-Fi, and controlled digitally via apps. Our smart homes offer incredible convenience, they speed up processes and automate menial tasks. They keep on top of things so we don’t have to but, for all the convenience offered by our smart homes, they’re not very secure.
The problem with smart devices in 2024
There are no standardized laws or regulations concerning the security of smart devices. In short, there is no incentive for companies to focus on (spend money on) ensuring the smart devices they produce are secure from data farming or criminal access.
Vulnerable devices can be accessed and/or controlled remotely, they can be used to monitor your activity, sell your data, or otherwise collect your personal details. They can be used for spying, DDoS attacks, and other nefarious activities. Moreover, this could be happening right now without your knowledge.
5 ways to help keep your smart home secure:
1. Review app permissions
Apps require permission from the user to access and collect data. Some of this data will not be necessary for the app to perform so ensure that you uncheck or opt-out of any unnecessary data collection when possible. Limiting the amount of data shared will, in turn, limit the amount of data vulnerable to attacks.
2. Take advantage of all security options on your Wi-Fi network
Your Wi-Fi network is the front door to your smart home. Make sure it is locked up tight by creating a strong and unique password (long, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols), enabling WPA3 encryption, and hiding your network name (SSID).
3. Update your devices
Most smart device software will receive periodic updates that may contain security updates responding to identified issues or new threats, so make sure you keep your devices and apps updated. Available updates will usually be communicated via pop-up but if you think you might have missed one check your app/device settings and look to see if there is a version update available.
4. Guest networks
Setting up a guest network for anyone who comes to visit will allow them to connect to your Wi-Fi without sharing any important security details. Having visitors connect to a guest network means that if they are using a vulnerable device it will not compromise your private network.
5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA is everywhere, from email to banking apps to gaming clients, and we highly recommend using it. 2FA requires you to enter an additional authentication code alongside your password. This authentication code may be sent to your phone via text or call, an authentication app, or your email. Not only does this act as a secondary barrier to access it is also a convenient alert - if you receive an unexpected authentication code, you know someone else is trying to access your personal account or device.
All of the above are great ways to increase security across your smart home network. Of course, these are deterrents and preventative measures to reduce risk but sadly, due to the nature of smart homes being part of a global network, do not eradicate it entirely - and there is currently no tool that can guarantee a completely and permanently secure smart home network.
Ensure your smart network is private
The best way to keep on top of your smart network security is to know exactly what is happening on your network, 24/7. Unlike preventative security tools like firewalls (which are great but not infallible to evolving cyber attacks), tools that monitor your network traffic will allow you to see unexpected changes indicating attacks, leaks, or uninvited access and put control and visibility of your smart home back in your hands.