Your home may be smart, but is it secure? A variety of internet-connected devices, from doorbells to lights and thermostats, may make your life more convenient, but they also put your home at risk of being hacked.
Every device that’s connected to the internet can be a doorway for bad actors. In one instance, when a family’s thermostat and camera systems were hacked, outsiders turned up the heat in a child’s bedroom and cursed at the homeowners via camera audio. In other reports, domestic abusers have used smart home technology to stalk their former partners.
Here’s how to keep your smart home network safe:
- Quarantine your smart home devices on a guest network, separate from your household internet. This is an option in many router systems.
- Use unique passwords for everything.
- Enable two-factor identification when available. When activated, users need a special code (typically sent to your cellphone) in addition to a password to access devices.
- If you have a home assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, activate voice-recognition features. That can stop burglars or inquisitive guests from accessing your calendar or other personal information.
Remember, too, to keep your router software, devices and device apps up to date. Download and install updates as soon as they are available. Updates protect your devices from the latest security bugs. Many devices will download and apply their own updates, but others might send you alerts through their associated apps.
When purchasing smart home devices, you may be better off with mainstream brands. The best-known names in the industry have a reputation to protect, as well as the resources to keep their security measures current.