More homeowners are choosing smart home system solutions as devices are growing more commonplace and convenient. Manufacturers rushing to keep up with the automated home market demands occasionally cut some corners, leading to poorly secured devices. This rush has led to terrifying breaches in privacy, including hacked baby monitors and surveillance cameras, stolen data, and identity theft. Homeowners should be wary of potential hackers entering their homes via a smart thermostat and accessing their family's habits and private information. However, there are ways you can protect your home's assets and data! Here are SounDesign's suggestions to protect your smart devices from hackers.
Your Wi-Fi router is the digital doorway to your home and the rest of your devices, so it's wise to invest in one with a good reputation for security. Having a poorly secured router is like leaving your door open to invaders, but you can take measures to stop them in their tracks. Once you've installed your router and updated the firmware, it's time to change the password to something long and complicated. Changing the network name to something that doesn't contain any personal family information, like your surname, is also important. Some routers allow you to use separate Wi-Fi networks, so you can set aside one for cellphones, one for work devices, and another for other automated devices. Or any other arrangement. If a hacker made it into your network for smart home devices, then they would still find themselves separated from the rest of your sensitive information. A separate guest network is also a good idea as an extra layer of security.
A cloud service is like an additional coat of armor, well worth your peace of mind. Service providers, including Vivint and ADT, protect your network by managing and securing homeowner devices so you don't have to. If you choose not to opt for the service, you'll have to manually check your system's security, which can be confusing and complicated. But with a cloud service, there's two-factor authentication plus a complex password needed to access your account. On the topic of passwords, they should contain a mix of numbers and letters, lack personal information, and be different for each device and account.
Although you'll never be able to fully secure any system, this doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to reduce risky situations. It's best to be informed on how vulnerable different automated home devices may be. Outdoor devices with embedded computers that contain little or no security, such as wireless doorbells, garage door openers, and smart sprinklers are most susceptible to hacking by anyone with a computer or Wi-Fi transmitter nearby. One tier more secure is interior gadgets, such as smart switches, thermostats, doors, CCTV cameras, baby monitors, lighting systems, or personal voice assistants operable via an app or your mobile device. Finally, smart refrigerators and ovens are the least targeted devices, but we still recommend keeping these secure. For any device you're thinking of bringing to your existing system, consider its benefits and drawbacks. Is the level of service and convenience it provides worth the possibility of hacking? As long as you remain cognizant of the level of security that manufacturers give their devices, you can make informed choices on keeping your home secure.
Unboxing a new gadget is an exciting time and you can't wait to integrate it with your home and reap its benefits as soon as possible! However, you should take some security steps first. By registering it with the manufacturer, you'll ensure the software remains updated and equipped to shield against bugs, vulnerabilities, or other security problems. Anytime you install an app associated with your new device, we recommend that you research all the permissions that you're granting. You can usually still use the app without having to hand over unnecessary personal information. Because most software developers aren't focused on creating secure smart home electronics, you should report vulnerabilities as soon as you see them, so they can begin to patch them up. By remaining consistent with device and app updates, you're doing the work to protect your system from preventable hacks. Some cellphones will even let you change your settings to automatically update apps whenever they're released.
You're feeling ready to move on from one of your smart devices, but before you decide to sell, throw out, or gift it, it's imperative to factory reset it. You can easily locate instructions to remove data from any kind of device available online. This prevents the next device owner from accessing your personal information, whether it's a family friend, phone flipper, or a hacker with malicious intent. Smartphone-operated home devices are especially vulnerable to hackers in search of ways to exploit your sensitive data or communicate with other devices still on your network.
The smartest decision you can make for your security system is to allow a professional company like SounDesign handle its installation for you! We design and install smart home systems that are well-integrated and secured. Whether you need questions answered or hardwiring work finished, we're here to help. Give us a call today to begin!
2521 Fairway Park Dr., Suite 402, Houston, TX