Creating and living in a smart home has become incredibly convenient. You can gradually install a wide range of products and seamlessly connect them for optimal outcomes. Perhaps you’re fascinated by smart home technology and eager to enhance smart home security. With these tips, you can make the house unhackable.
Technology Makes the Home Safer or Not?
Using smart home technology strategically can make your home a safer place to live. One significant benefit is improved visibility. Just like banking apps that notify you of all debit card transactions in real-time, smart home technology and apps offer the same level of security. With a smart security camera, you’ll receive alerts about visitors and even have the ability to talk to them through the speaker, whether you’re home or not.
With features like Apple Home Key, you can use an app to unlock your front door without worrying about losing or having a physical key stolen. It eliminates the security risks associated with hiding a spare key outside your home. Additionally, smart home products facilitate connectivity between older adults living independently and their loved ones or caregivers. Alexa Together is one option that enables communication across cities, as noted in an Amazon blog post. Some products even detect falls or medical emergencies within the home.
Safeguarding Home Tips
#1 Enable 2FA
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure that requires confirming your identity before accessing a device. When logging in to a 2FA-enabled smart device app, a verification code is sent to your phone or email. Enter the code to gain access, adding an extra layer of protection. If available, enable 2FA in the app settings. If a device has critical security or privacy functions, like a security camera, choose one that supports 2FA for added safety.
#2 Protect yourself with a VPN
Did you know that a good VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your devices and a remote server? This means that no outsider can break into your network. In addition to security, powerful VPN providers provide access to any content. For example, with VeePN for Hulu, you can stream video content from anywhere in the world, not just the US and South Korea. All in all, VeePN is a convenient solution for both protecting and unblocking geo-restricted content. At the very least, it’s definitely worth testing, especially since there is a free trial mode.
#3 Disable features you don’t use
IoT devices can be controlled from anywhere but disable remote access if only used on home Wi-Fi. Smart speakers with Bluetooth should be turned off if not used. Smart TVs with voice control, although convenient, can be a privacy risk if hacked. Disable unnecessary features to block potential entry points.
#4 Create a separate Wi-Fi network
Nowadays, many modern routers give you the option to set up a guest or secondary network. By creating a separate network exclusively for your IoT devices, you can ensure the safety of your main network against potential threats from IoT devices. This way, your friends, relatives, and guests can connect to a network that is not associated with your IoT devices. It is possible to force friends to install the VPN extension for Firefox or some other form of VPN, but this is inconvenient. With this approach, only you and your family will have access to your local smart home network.
Placing IoT devices on a separate network keeps them isolated, so even if hackers manage to infiltrate one of them, they won’t be able to access any of your more crucial devices like your laptop or smartphone. Ofer Maor, a cybersecurity expert and board member of the OWASP Foundation, emphasizes the importance of running different network segments at home. He has his “office” network with laptops, NAS, and other sensitive components, as well as his “Home IoT” network specifically for IoT devices. This approach limits the impact of a breach, preventing hackers from reaching his laptop or sensitive data even if one of his IoT devices is compromised.
#5 Enable auto-updates
Smart devices, like computers and smartphones, benefit from regular updates. These updates provide new features, fix issues, and address security concerns. Enabling automatic updates for apps on your phone and firmware on your other devices is a wise choice. Software updates handle app control, while firmware updates enhance device functionality. To enable automatic app updates, go to your phone’s settings. For smart-home devices, automatic updates can be enabled in the companion app settings. Some devices may require manual triggering of updates, indicated by a badge or icon in the app.
Living in a smart home doesn’t always elevate your safety, but it can. That’s much more likely to happen when you recognize and proactively address the hacking-related risks. Besides applying the aforementioned suggestions, educate yourself about new smart home risks as they emerge. As the smart home market changes, so do the potential threats. That’s not to say you must avoid smart home technologies but a reminder to take care when using them.