Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular. The future is now, and people want to have a tech-driven living space that will give them all the comfort they need.
Homeowners are into tech more than ever – they want their life to be efficient and smart. Lucky for them, various IoT and smart home installation companies can deliver innovative technology that make people’s lives more comfortable. However, not all of these companies prioritize security and take time to educate their clients about effective protection.
Since IoT devices are connected to the internet, they can become a threat to the whole home. As the people who set up smart homes, it’s essential to take different steps to ensure security and offer your customers some actionable suggestions.
Routers are the Backbone of Home Networks
All IoT devices in a smart home use a router to go online. They are constantly connected to get data and provide information to users. At the same time, routers are often used as Wi-Fi networks for everyone in the home.
That’s why it’s important to set them up correctly. First of all, when installing smart devices, always suggest that your customers upgrade their routers. Like software, outdated routers have a lot of vulnerabilities, and newer versions simply have fewer flaws. They have better security protocols, protection systems, and better access processes.
Wi-Fi hijacking or “wi-jacking” is a process that many of us have encountered without realizing it. Say, your neighbor connects to your Wi-Fi and silently steals your bandwidth. However, the situation intensifies when hackers get access to routers. Then, they can manipulate incoming and outgoing traffic. In the case of smart homes, such attacks can lead to criminals connecting to various cameras or even getting physical access to your house.
Because we are talking about routers, it’s important to mention that newer ones give users the option to create several networks. Why is this important? It’s quite simple: every device has its own security liabilities.
If you put them all on one network, the chances are that one of them will fail. At the same time, it’s generally good to split smart devices into a separate network and create another one where personal information is likely to be used or stored.
When installing IoT devices, make sure to add a dedicated network. Both of them should have different passwords and settings. In this case, even if a smart device is hacked, the malware won’t spread to any devices with important personal data.
Give People Hints About Maintenance
Yes, people want you to come over, install their smart gadgets, and leave ASAP. But, it’s in your and their best interest to give them helpful suggestions to prevent security issues. First of all, tell people that they need to update the firmware of their IoT devices and routers.
Tell them to check for updates regularly and teach them how to perform updates. In most cases, this requires pressing two buttons, and everyone can do it on their own. Old firmware can leave many vulnerabilities in the whole system and even cause bugs unrelated to any hacks. For example, all home assistants and smart speakers have online instructions for updating firmware. Just refer people to where they can get this information, and you’ll be out of their hair in no time.
Set Up All IoT Devices with Security in Mind
Let’s face it, IoT devices are really useful, but they can create many potential vulnerabilities for a homeowner. Various default security and privacy settings are designed for manufacturers to get information about their customers.
Even though this isn’t inherently a negative thing, it could lead to users being robbed of their information. Manufacturers say that they do this to improve user experience, but it’s a double-edged sword that could leave personal data in the open.
Change these default settings and adjust them with the customer’s security in mind. Of course, if the people you are working for don’t want you to do this even after explaining the risks, it’s their right to do so. Furthermore, a VPN for IoT devices can stand guard as you browse the internet and perform other digital tasks. It will prevent intrusive entities from getting access to your activity. Hence, they won’t be able to steal or monitor private data.
Suggest Two-Factor Authentication
People don’t take their passwords seriously. The issue with smart homes is that that weak passwords create an even greater vulnerability. First of all, give your clients some tips on how to create strong passwords:
- Make sure passwords are long (at least 10 characters)
- Create them by using reliable password generators
- Use a combination of numbers, letters, and signs
At the same time, offer customers to apply two-factor authentication on all smart-device apps that support it. You can do this as a part of your service or simply suggest it. These systems further reinforce security and make it much more difficult for someone to log into people’s accounts.
Let’s end on an educational experiment implemented by colleagues. They tested the security of Fibaro Home Centers and concluded their penetration attempts with a report. It was quite insightful: more than one vulnerability that the Fibaro Home Centers successfully eliminated.
So, while you might take steps to secure a smart home, some innate flaws can still lead to unauthorized access. Hence, we encourage smart-device app providers to implement penetration testing to find ways to step up. As a smart home company, it’s your duty to help people improve their home security, which will help you prevent liability and build a reputation as a trustworthy company. It does require a bit more effort, but it will pay off in the long run.