Simple things you can do today to make your home more secure from hackers.
You have seen stories on the news of people’s smart cameras being hacked, of people’s homes being listened to on smart speakers and more. The FBI has even issued warnings for those who have smart TV’s, speakers, and any other smart devices for your home. Smart devices can be pretty easy to hack unless you take the steps to protect them.
People are not thinking about the fact that these “smart” devices do not have built in security features. They don’t have programming to protect themselves like many of the smart technology we use does. Computers and smart phone for instance have security built in. Smart devices like cameras, speakers, plugs, and lights however do not. It falls to the users to apply those protection to the devices of their choosing.
It doesn’t matter what brand you are using, if it is a product from Amazon, Google, Apple or other products on the market. Each of these items in your home are vulnerable to internet hackers unless you take measures to provide a secure network for these devices to connect to your router.
If you are invested in a truly “smart home” please consider making it safer with these tips.
Set up your WiFi Router
Your internet providers gave you the first line of defense against hackers. Your Wifi router is designed to be set up in your home and allow each household to set up their own password. The problem is that many people don’t take the time to do it. So why would you leave your car parked in a busy parking lot with your keys, purse, and expensive cell phone in the front seat? That is essentially what you are doing when you do not set up your WIFI router. You are leaving the door wide open for anyone who wants to hack into your smart devices.
Make sure you use an encryption on your router like a WPA2 and name your router something that is not associate with your name or address. Also create a unique password that is different from any other online password you have used before. Every router should come with instructions on how to do this, or be available through your internet provider. If not you can also look up how to do that online for all makes and models of your router. Follow the instructions to set up security on your wifi router and sleep a little easier.
Invest in a Firewall
Ok, first it is important to explain what a firewall is. A firewall is a part of a computer system or network which is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting outward communication. In essence, a firewall is designed to limit access to your systems from any unknown device.
Many computers come with a firewall installed and most virus protection software offers this feature. The difference between you phone and computer, vs your smart plugs, speakers, video game systems, cameras and TV’s is that these individual devices do not have software on them to innately protect you from outside interference.
There are several options for you to create a home firewall. Wi-Fi routers act as basic hardware firewalls (when set up correctly.) But a basic router and your computer’s firewall software alone may not provide enough network security to protect your company from online threats.
In many cases it is important to set up a secondary device to create another level of security for your home systems. One that we are fond of is the Gryphon Advanced Security & Parental Control Mesh WIFi Router. In addition to providing a way for parents to control the use of the internet from devices connected to the Gryphon, it also provides a secure firewall for all your smart devices to connect to. There are several other options for these types of systems including the Disney Circle, Syfer, and other unites that are similar and include parental control features.
If you are just looking to have secondary security for your home and are not a concerned with parental controls you can also use secondary Netgear, Linksys, MeshForce and WAVLINK mesh WiFi Systems. All of which are within the $100-$200 price range on Amazon.
Create a “Guest” Network
You know how when you enter a business that has WiFi they often have a “guest” network available. Most of the time that network still has additional password security. There is a reason for this. Creating a “guest” profile allows users access to the internet but does not allow users to have access to devices on your network like your smart TV’s and Computers.
Your home should be set up the same way. In your network control panel you should have an option to create a “guest” profile with their own login credentials. This allows for your guests to safely search online using their devices, while keeping yours safely tucked away from intrusion.
“Smart” devices are only as smart as the user. Make sure that your smart home is not the low hanging fruit for hackers. Take the time to set up your WiFi router with a strong username and password. Never use the default settings. Invest in a secondary firewall for your home with its own unique username an password, and connect all your smart devices through the secondary mesh router. Finally, do yourself and your guests a favor by creating a guest WiFi user profile with a unique password for guests to enjoy while they are with you.
NOTE: This article is meant to be a starting point to better protect your smart home, it is not designed to be your ultimate guide to safety and security. We recommend that you do your own research and consult other experts in network security.
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