By: Julie Adams, Editor-in-Chief, Modern Living 101
In a modern smart home, everything from your smart thermostat, to your refrigerator to your baby monitor can be connected to the internet. This unarguably makes life more comfortable, but it also opens people up to a new risk – having their home hacked.
If you’re going to integrate technology into your home, you should also know how to prevent it from being hacked. The following tips are designed to help keep you keep your home safe and secure in a modern world.
Tip 1: Use multifactor authentication
Add a secondary verification element beyond the password. A single password, at this point in time, is an outdated way of securing your system. If you don’t have more than one obstacle for hackers to get past, you’re opening yourself up for trouble.
The added level of authentication can be a security key or a single-use code sent to a phone call or text to keep unknown users out of your smart devices. Numerous websites and apps offer two-step verification that users can choose when setting their device up. Other methods, such as biometric verification like a thumbprint or an eye check, are progressively being counted on as a harder-to-fake two-step authentication alternative.
Tip 2: Keep everything up to date
Everybody has been there: your phone prompts you to complete a software upgrade, but it never seems like the right time to do that, so you click “download later.” Doing so can make devices at risk to dangerous malware.
Many smart home devices do not upgrade automatically, so it’s a good rule of thumb to check for updates on all of your devices at least once a month. This ensures that if you have updates, they get done in a timely fashion. Many software updates are pushed out to fix bugs, but others are to close security holes that hackers can find an exploit. The longer your system is outdated, the more at risk you are.
Tip 3: Set up malware defense
Consumers should have some type of malware protection on their phones, computers, and smart devices. Even products thought to be untouchable, such as Mac computers, are now vulnerable without the proper defenses in place.
While anti-virus programs only safeguard users versus 30% to 50% of well-known viruses, there’s no harm in downloading and installing one. Not doing so can be a ticking time bomb, almost guaranteeing that you’ll be hacked.
Many basic anti-virus software can be downloaded for less than the price of a nice dinner. This is a small price to pay to keep your home safe from hackers.
Tip 4: Do not use public Wi-Fi
Hackers can easily access devices through public Wi-Fi. Ensure to switch off the “connect automatically” setting on phones and be skeptical of shared connections, like those in airports or coffee shops.
Since your phone is often times connected to everything in your smart home setup, if your phone is compromised, you run the risk of compromising everything else as well.
Tip 5: Don’t use default usernames and passwords
Numerous gadgets come with a default username and password that hackers can quickly find on online forums. It is essential to changes these right away on all new devices, including connected refrigerators and various other smart home appliances. Switch to a protected password or passphrase with varied numbers, signs, as well as capitalization.
Keeping the default username and password is the most common, and easiest way for hackers to take control of your smart devices.
Wherever there is advancing technology, there will be people who can benefit from hacking it. Staying diligent will help keep your smart home out of the hands of hackers. With these tips, you can stay a step ahead of hackers, keeping your smart home safe and secure.