The Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful technology that can help make your house a smart home. For example, you can control and automate doors, windows, heaters, and air conditioners. You can also beef up safety and security and reduce the impact of weather on your home using IoT devices.
However, using IoT to build a smart home comes with vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. If successful, hackers can steal your important information, manipulate your devices, and leave you at a loss or regret.
If you never thought it necessary to secure your smart home and IoT devices, pause a minute and read this article. You’ll learn why it’s vital to secure IoT devices. Also, you’ll find actionable tips you can follow to secure your smart home immediately.
Why You Need to Secure Your Smart Home and IoT Devices
Every IoT device collects data that is accessible over a network. If hackers successfully break into your network connection, they can pry on your private data and use them to their advantage.
Since IoT devices are mostly linked to smartphones, the risks of hackers accessing your personal information are higher. And so, when hackers breach your network, it becomes relatively easier to get your data, such as bank information, credit card details, etc.
How to Secure Your Smart Home and IoT Devices
Hackers always look for the next vulnerable network to attack and steal private information. That said, ensuring that your smart home and IoT devices are not susceptible to an attack is imperative.
We recommend the following measures to secure your smart home and IoT devices from malicious, unprecedented, and harmful attacks.
First, you must ensure that breaching your home network connection is hard to crack.
Second, you have to make it near-impossible for hackers to access your IoT devices.
Secure Your Smart Home
Your WiFi router is the doorway to your home’s network connection. And so, your entire IoT framework will become quite susceptible to attack if hackers gain access to your WiFi network.
Below are measured to secure your home network from cyber thieves’ infiltration.
Change the default WiFi router username and password.
Many people leave their WiFi router’s default usernames and passwords unchanged, which is quite risky. Leaving these login details untouched makes it a piece of cake for hackers to invade your network quickly.
In 2016, about 100,000 IoT devices were hijacked in a cyber attack using a malware called Mirai botnets. The hackers took advantage of the default usernames of associated WiFi routers and used them to find the likely passwords for such routers. With that information at their disposal, they could compromise hundreds of thousands of devices.
Ensure you change the device’s default name to prevent cyber thieves from accessing your home network. Plus, don’t use a name that gives insight into anything personal about you. It’s best to choose something neutral.
Also, when choosing a password, don’t use straightforward passwords that people can guess easily, such as 0000, 1111, 0123, 1234, or even your date of birth. Instead, the strongest passwords are a combination of letters (upper case and lower case), numbers, and special characters.
You can also use third-party applications to generate passwords that even the brightest minds can’t guess. Like many other secure password-generating tools, Keeper password manager and digital vault come in handy for generating strong passwords and ensuring thorough cyber security.
Don’t access your IoT devices on a public WiFi network.
People sometimes use a public WiFi connection to access their IoT devices without much consciousness of the implications. Public WiFi connections are more prone to attacks because of reduced layers of security.
And so, hackers can take advantage and steal data from the devices connected to the
WiFi network. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using public networks for anything that can compromise your security.
Create a guest profile on your main WiFi network
Depending on how modern your WiFi router is, you may be able to create as many guest networks as you need, and each of the networks will work like a unique, independent network connection.
Creating guest networks helps mitigate the risk of a breach, mainly because it will be difficult to access all your devices, even if hackers successfully break into any one of the networks.
So, you can have a guest network for IoT devices. One for friends and family that come visiting. Another is for your laptop and other devices that require an internet connection.
Use the latest security protocol for WiFi networks.
Just as web hosting platforms show a warning “not secure” sign if you don’t install an SSL certificate on your website, the WiFi security protocol you choose also determines how secure your IoT devices are.
WPA2 is widely used nowadays and is more reliable and secure than the previous WEP and WPA protocols. However, if your WiFi router still relies on WEP, upgrading or changing the device altogether is time.
Sometimes, a WPA2-enabled device may still rely on WEP. In this case, ensure you disable the WEP protocol altogether, mainly because it is vulnerable and has several other security issues.
Secure IoT devices
We have discussed securing your home network, a potential doorway for cyber invasion. Now, it’s time to tighten the security on the end of your IoT devices.
Follow the tips below to strengthen the security of your IoT devices.
Use strong passwords for your devices.
As you’ll do for your router, create strong passwords for your IoT devices. You can keep a note to record your passwords for all your devices or use a reliable third-party password generator.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
Enabling two-factor authentication on your IoT devices is the icing on the cake. This extra layer of security makes it impossible for hackers to penetrate your devices, especially if you use more personal backups like phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
Unfortunately, some IoT devices don’t support 2FA. If you can’t upgrade, we recommend that you use a third-party app like Google Authenticator. 2FA security layer effectively helps protect your home from a cyber attack.
Always update your devices.
Manufacturers of IoT devices are aware of their products’ security loopholes, so they make regular updates with security patches to fix the issues. That being the case, you should check for updates regularly and initiate an update when there is an automatic prompt.
Stop features you rarely use
It may not make sense to stop features you rarely use, but it goes a long way in ensuring your security. Disabling features you don’t often use on your IoT devices means blocking many possible entry points that cyber thieves can leverage.
It would help if you leveragedwould help if you leveraged IoT to make your home a more convenient and enjoyable place to live in. First however, use the tips in this article to safeguard your home from hackers and prevent them from gaining access to your private and important information.
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