We all love to have the internet of things in our home to make our life easy and simple. Don’t we? Thanks to the technology-driven world we live in today, we’re lucky enough to have access to hot new gadgets that bring convenience to our daily routines.
From smart TVs to security cameras, smart locks to smart thermostats, gaming consoles to smart speakers, all these things are slowly and steadily becoming part of our lives.
Undoubtedly, the best features of smart devices are that they make our home secure. But have you ever thought of the cons to these devices?
Not exactly, right? Well, let me inform you.
Although smart devices often have many benefits, they also have the potential to make your home and connected devices vulnerable to security breaches. Thus, it becomes essential to have a plan for ensuring your smart home stays safe and secure.
Here are five tips for getting the most out of your smart devices:
1 – Secure Your Router
Always remember your router is similar to the border crossing. It is like a gateway to your home. You have to secure it tightly in order to prevent cyber-attacks. So, creating a smart home begins with the securing of your router. For that, you can proceed with some essential steps –
- Change the router’s default name
- Set a unique password
- Use a high level of encryption
2 – Use Super Strong Password
Apart from the Wi-Fi router’s password, there are several other areas where you need to ensure that you are using super-strong passwords so that no one can crack it. For example, your IoT devices basically require you to create an account to sign in. These smart devices generally have associated mobile apps where you need to add login credentials.
Create unique credentials for each IoT device account and app you use. In the event one of your devices is compromised, the other devices will remain secure.
Understandably, this involves remembering a lot of passwords. Record usernames and passwords in a safe place where you can find them easily or consider a password keeper.
3 – Disable Features that are Obsolete
Many IoT devices give you the ability to control devices anywhere in this world. But it is advised, that if you are using home’s Wi-Fi connection, then disable the feature of “remote access”. Similarly, if your smart speakers have the facility of Bluetooth connectivity, but if you are not using it, then why not turn it off?
Voice control features come up with smart TVs, but this feature often goes unused where smart assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google assistant rule the home. It may sound paranoid yet it’s an active mic. If it is hacked, then anybody can hear your conversation which is not good in terms of safety, privacy, and security.
So, make sure you are disabling features that are unneeded and could lead to vulnerabilities for hackers.
Additionally, if privacy and security are a concern in your smart home, turn off voice assistants, voice search, smart speakers, and other features that could allow a smart device to listen to your conversations or track data about you.
4 – Keep Your Devices Updated
Wi-Fi router’s firmware updates may not happen automatically. These kinds of updates require essential security patches which can enhance the security of the networks.
Don’t forget to do a manual check after every few months to check out whether there are any pending firmware updates present or not. If there’s an update available, install it right away.
Updates aren’t limited to your router though; you’ll also find them needed with other IoT devices. So, make sure you are regularly checking for updates and installing them at once.
And remember, don’t procrastinate. Every minute, hour, or the day you wait you’re changing a potential security breach.
5 – Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
If you use online banking, you must be aware of multi-factor authentication. Multi-Factor authentication is generally called two-factor authentication in which there is an added layer of security which is beyond a mere password. Each time when someone tries to log into your IoT device, it will ask for additional proof of your identity.
A one-time password will be generated which is often sent to your phone or email address that confirms you are the only one logging into the devices.
You now see many smart devices in the market utilizing multi-factor authentication by default. But, if you are not getting those devices, enable 2FA by using 3rd party apps like Google Authenticator.
Once you have multi-layered authentication, rest assured you’re taking the right steps to keep your information safe and secure.
In a nutshell
In short, it’s in your hands to make a safe home for yourself and your family. Whenever using smart devices, do you research, check with the manufacturer regarding privacy, safety and potential vulnerabilities. Because at the end of the day, only you can learn how to use these devices, how to maintain them, and how to protect your own privacy and security.