The dream of home automation has become reality in the past several years. “Smart” thermostats, security systems, and lighting are just a few of the innovations available today. However, as convenient as all of these products are, they also represent an enormous security risk.
Hackers can infiltrate your smart home via the devices that make your life a breeze and seize control of them, turning the dream into a nightmare. You don’t have to fall prey to cybercriminals — read on to learn what you can do to keep yourself and your home safe.
Choose Products With Built-in Security
When it comes to smart home products, the prevailing wisdom is that you should choose name brands. They’ve got reputations to uphold, so they won’t produce products that can easily be hacked.
On the other hand, because name brands inspire a greater sense of trust, they’re more popular. And the more people who buy name brand automated home devices, the greater the incentive for cybercriminals.
Think of it this way — imagine you’re a hacker. Would you rather hack a thermostat with a large user base that would give you access to thousands of pieces of user data, or would you spend your time going after a home security device that a few hundred people have bought?
What does the savvy home owner do in this situation? Select products with strong built-in security. Whatever device you buy should ask you for a new password when you’re setting it up instead of letting you rely on the default password. Also, it should work with your current security infrastructure. For example, if a device tells you that you must disable your firewall during setup, that’s a big red flag.
Protect Your Devices With Security Software
Home computers and mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones are attractive targets for hackers. They contain a wealth of personal data that cybercriminals can exploit to empty bank accounts and carry out other criminal activities.
One way to safeguard your devices (and by extension, yourself) is to use maximum security software on your computers and other devices within your home. There are so many varieties of security software on the market — what should you look for?
Anti-ransomware technology is a must-have in this day and age; it will shield your data from hackers attempting extortion. Also, the best types of security software cover several devices at the same time, regardless of their platform or operating system. Aside from blocking threats from infiltrating your computer or mobile device, the software should fix any security issues.
Connect to the Internet With Care
Yes, it’s very exciting that you can use your refrigerator to check your Facebook chats. But that same functionality can leave your smart home vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Unless your device absolutely requires an internet connection to function, don’t allow it to connect to the World Wide Web. The number of devices that can connect to the internet is directly related to the risk of being hacked. If you haven’t purchased any devices for home automation yet, search for those that don’t need an internet connection to work.
Physical Security Measures Matter, Too
Digital protection is crucial. That being said, it’s only one part of your automated home security strategy (although it’s a very large one).
If you have a number of automated devices, you’ll most likely want one hub to control them all. Having a hub increases the convenience factor of home automation — you can access everything you need in one place. If you can access your home’s smart devices from one place, so can a thief, though.
Put your hub in a place that strangers can’t easily get to, especially if those devices have USB ports (those make it incredibly easy for criminals to tamper with them).
The digital threats that face smart home devices can put even the most ardent gadget geek off the idea of home automation. That doesn’t mean you should be afraid of this technological development, though. When you take adequate precautions against hackers and cybercriminals, you can benefit from the unprecedented levels of convenience that smart home devices bring.