Cybersecurity technology has experienced a tremendous surge in consumer interest in 2021 that has shown no signs of slowing down. The trend is largely because developers are introducing numerous innovations in this realm, at a pace that meets market demand.
Just think: the things we thought we would only see in sci-fi movies are quickly turning into reality. Remember Iron Man and his smart home? Evaluating the fictional character Tony Stark, from his 1960s incarnation to the present, reveals how smart home concepts truly progressed.
In our modern era, we can pinpoint smart home technology’s emergence from society’s current reliance on high-tech gadgetry and the internet.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the mechanism that currently powers smart homes. All programmable devices, smart appliances, and devices in contemporary smart homes are connected to the internet. Think back 20 years ago at the thought of remotely changing the thermostat while not at home or watching your kids through security cameras. These capabilities are now not only possible, but more and more commonplace.
While useful tools, smart devices can also pose tremendous risks as their connection to the internet invites cyberattacks.
This is where cybersecurity enters the picture.
Lack of significant cybersecurity in smart homes has been a concern since high-profile cyber attacks started occurring earlier this year. Often, the Internet of Things lacks significant protective measures for consumer-grade structures. The IoT does not have the same security that mobile devices and computers use either. That’s why the system is at risk for malicious attacks.
What Are Smart Home Cyberattacks?
Cyberattacks are vicious attempts to breach another individual’s information system. These attacks are largely preventable if you practice basic device security measures, i.e., securing smart devices, sophisticated password creations, using SSL proxy or device updates and the like.
SSL proxy encrypts your smart connections by providing high security and anonymity. These proxies will prevent cybercriminals from accessing your data. Indeed, encryption is the key to adding an extra layer of security.
With these types of cybersecurity practices in place, why do smart home cyberattacks happen?
Most people are unaware that smart home devices do not have the cybersecurity updates that other devices regularly get. Some smart appliances lack system hardening, while some have passwords without encryption.
If your smart device is compromised, it is easy for hackers to gain your data. Moreover, it makes your home exceptionally vulnerable.
Below are a few possible scenarios that could occur if your smart home system is compromised. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Compromised smart home speaker: Hackers can listen to your conversations as a way to gain access to your passwords or user data.
- Accessed smart home thermostat: Hackers will have an idea when you might not be home.
- Compromised smart device or home network: Hackers can use it to launch a DDoS attack against a remote device.
Despite the threats of cyberattacks, 40.8 percent (comfyliving.net) of smart homes have at least one device that is vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. More than 69 percent of these devices are at risk due to weak access credentials. Meanwhile, 31.4 percent are at risk because of unpatched software vulnerabilities.
The only way to safeguard against a potential threat is to become more mindful of the smart home devices being installed.
Whether a home has a full-fledged smart home system or simply a collection of smart devices, you have to size up product security. Here’s a list of the things you should know and follow to ensure you are making a smart home safe.
Practice Smart Home Cybersecurity
- Choose the Right Device
It can be quite a challenge to determine whether the device you choose is truly secure from cyber attacks. The first thing to evaluate is the smart device’s security features to see if the item even has any. You can likewise learn more about the product’s manufacturer, whether they secure their devices and how they dealt with problems in this regard.
- Change Default Router Names
Change the default name of your router before you install or use it. Rename it with a unique alphanumeric code, where applicable, that is not associated with any personal information. Any name assigned by the manufacturer gives hackers information that can help them infiltrate your network.
- Create Strong Passwords, Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Would you lock your luggage or safe with a predictable code? Surely not! Why would you do so with a smart home-related device? The best thing you can do here for cybersecurity is to create strong passwords for each device. Generate random numbers, letters, or special characters and use a password manager to remember it all.
A password manager helps generate and store random passwords that are difficult to crack. Use different passwords for each device or account, so when one account is compromised, the others are safe. Don’t worry; password managers are difficult to attack. Moreover, the manager keeps track of how often you change your password.
Changing passwords frequently keeps hackers at bay.
As cyberattacks have become a hot topic, two-factor authentication has been integrated into most platforms. When you enable two-factor authentication, you will receive a notification of suspicious activities. With this safeguard in place, a hacker cannot get into your account without the unique code from the two-factor system.
- Increase Network Security with SSL Proxy
SSL proxy ensures a higher degree of privacy and security. Use proxy to increase network security, filter malicious activities, and help monitor internal internet usage. SSL encryption also protects a device and the outside server it is linked to. Thus, if a traffic connection is intercepted, the hacker cannot read the information they obtain.
- Do Not Use Public Wi-Fi for Remote Access
You may sometimes find yourself using public Wi-Fi connections at a cafe or restaurant. While generally safe, public Wi-Fi networks are not always secure, especially when using them to access IoT devices remotely. Hackers can monitor unencrypted traffic and may see a vulnerable device. If there is a need to access smart home devices remotely, use a cellular plan or VPN.
- Regularly Update Devices
Outdated devices are vulnerable to hackers. Even though a smart home router and home network have increased protection, outdated devices can be security holes. Online criminals can gain access and easily exploit your data.
A few things you can do to prevent this are:
- Update devices to the most recent software.
- Apply the latest security patches.
- Install antivirus or anti-malware security software to the devices connected to the home network.
These steps help ensure that there is no security hole left for malicious hacks.
Utilizing smart devices and safely incorporating them into a home network can be tricky. When investing and installing them, bear in mind that any device connected to the internet is a possible gateway for cybercriminals. In the future, following the above cybersecurity checklist can protect you and keep your smart home safe.