Here's How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Mar 1, 2017 6:41am

smart homeThe Internet of Things (IoT) is full of promise. Convenience, safety and energy efficiency are all perks of a smart home, and the possibilities are only growing as the technology advances and more smart devices make their way into the home. From HVAC system management to smart door locks, eventually there will be no aspect of the home that isn’t connected to a wireless network.

However, it’s probably going to take a few years for IoT products to reach mainstream consumers; many of these smart devices and appliances are built with convenience in mind over security. Since these products are fairly new, smart home security is in a bit of a trial phase. While there may not be hackers lining up to take down your security system, the growing popularity of smart homes will increase the likelihood of such a threat.

The downside of everything in your home being connected is that one small vulnerability could leave your house, your personal information and even your identity exposed. Before you add a device to your home network, take into account these tips so that you can rest easy knowing your IoT is more secure.

Choose Reputable Brands

Major brands who are looking to protect their reputation are going to be most concerned with the security of their smart home products. Don’t order an iffy product just because the price tag is more appealing. Stick to the names you know and stay informed about software updates the brands offer for their devices. Do your research: read reviews and learn about consumers’ experiences with the products from a security and privacy perspective.

Consider Professional Installation

There’s a big difference between merely buying and connecting devices versus installing a cohesive, convenient and safe smart home network. Even if you’re a tech-savvy person, you may not be able to do the job as thoroughly as a professional smart home installer who will have experience in electrical work or home security systems. If you choose a professional installer, be sure to vet the company and ask for references. If you’re intent on DIY, you can find courses that teach you how to install entry-level smart home systems.

Create a Complex Password 

These days, you need an extra layer besides a password to truly rest easy about your online security. But some people don’t realize how a weak password can compromise their networks. At the very least, create a strong password that’s a sentence at least 12 characters long – focus on positive sentences that are easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess. Steer clear of guest access and be strict about sharing your password. 

Invest in a Smart Security System

Putting up a firewall is like installing a secure fence around your network. Instead of relying on the security of each individual device, a firewall covers all your bases. You can obtain devices that guard your wireless network from threats, malware and viruses, yet are still affordable for home usage. 

Security risks may grow with the popularity of the Internet of Things, but so will the options and methods of protecting your personal information and private property. In the meantime, be smart about how you approach your smart home.

About the Author

Lauren Pezzullo is a writer, editor and musicophile who's passionate about vegetarianism and sustainable eating. As an editor for Modernize, she writes about energy-efficient living in the home. She's currently writing her debut novel.