How to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers

How to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers

Posted: 2017.05.25

By: Kevin Williams

Categories: Cool Tech

The smart home and home automation market is in its infancy but will be worth $80 billion by 2022. In addition, nearly 25 billion home consumer devices will be a part of the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020. Unfortunately, with this level of innovation, there's also the looming threat of hackers taking advantage of all the internet-connected devices to wreak havoc as they did late last year to create a massive internet outage.

No home for hackers here

Certainly, there many stories involving the security vulnerabilities of the IoT, as well. These tales of terror have made an impact as 44 percent of Americans said they were "very concerned" about having private information stolen from their smart home.

However, you shouldn't let this discourage you from enjoying the benefits of home automation. The reality is that we're not nearly as vulnerable as it may seem. With a little foresight and personal responsibility, you can have an automated home that's virtually hacker proof. Here are some ways you can achieve this:

Invest in secure routers from trusted brands – The router is the internet doorway to your connected home, so it's important to pick one that won't make you vulnerable. Do your homework and discover which routers are best for your needs in terms of security and reliability.

Don't use default passwords and usernames – Your router and other IoT-connected devices will likely come with a default password and username. You should change these as soon as possible because they can be posted on forums online and thus become public knowledge among hackers.

Use multi-factor identification (MFA) – MFA combines two or more means of identification besides, or in addition to, a password to reinforce your security and ensure that hackers can't have every piece of information they need to breach your system. Examples of multiple security factors include:

  • Passwords, passphrases, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), or answers to secret questions such as "Where are you from?"

  • Biometrics such as eye or finger scans

  • Security tokens, badges, or cards

Hire a cloud services company to manage your devices – You can hire professional cloud management companies that will monitor the security of your devices so you don't have to. Though they represent an additional cost, they can monitor your home's devices in real time and notify you of suspicious activity as it occurs. They can also automatically update your devices' software to ensure that they remain as secure as possible without you having to do anything.

Updates, updates, updates – Always make sure that your devices and their corresponding apps and other software are always updated to their latest versions. Updates usually have security augmentations that make them harder for hackers to crack. The longer you go without updating, the better chance a hacker has of figuring out how to compromise your security. Staying up-to- date will ensure that you're always one step ahead.

Install malware protection for apps and devices – You can purchase malware protection and other security software to protect your phones, computers, and other devices. As with any other software, it's best to make sure this is always updated to the latest version as well.

Avoid suspicious data storage – If you find a mysterious flash drive or disc, don't insert it into your home computer or otherwise expose it to your home automation system. Hackers have been known to load viruses and other nastiness onto data storage devices and then leave them to be found by someone with the hope that they'll open them up on their computer later. They call this "social engineering." In this case, curiosity really does kill the cat, but the cat's your security and privacy.

Hackers aren't going to give up, grow up, or go away anytime soon. But this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to receive the benefits of home automation. By using the above techniques, you'll be able to enjoy living in a futuristic smart home without having to worry about who might have taken control of it without your knowledge.