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Designing a Secure Smart Home

As the years go by, more and more smart devices are introduced into the market.

Although there’s no denying that they have made people’s lives a lot easier, they also increased the number of opportunities for cybercriminals to access your network and data within it.

image - Designing a Secure Smart Home
Designing a Secure Smart Home

It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of different smart devices in your home or if you only have one – you need to make sure that each one of them is as safe and secure as possible.

It’s a very similar situation to a damaged garage door.

A damaged garage door is a safety hazard that makes it easier for burglars to break-in – the same way unsecured smart devices allow hackers to enter your network.

And what do you do with a damaged door? You repair it – you look for garage door repair in Detroit, Los Angeles, Seattle, or whatever else your house is, and fix it.

You need to do the same thing with your smart devices – if they aren’t secure, you fix them. How can you do that? Well, that’s something we will be looking at in this article – so, if you want to find out more, just keep on reading.

Update the Gadgets

If you have a smartphone, you are probably used to keeping track of the updates and notifying you when a new one is available.

That is not the case with smart devices – what’s more, some of them might not even be connected to the internet at all.

That is exactly why you need to look for updates on your own – the dedicated app and the manufacturer’s website are good places to start.

Although they might not be released that often if a security exploit is discovered, you’d probably want the patch in place as soon as possible.

Sure, updating all the smart devices can be fiddly, as you might have to connect some of them to the computer, for instance, but you need to remember that the firmware or on-board software is your first line of defense, so you want it to be as up-to-date as possible.

Apply the update routine to all of your computers and devices connected to the same network, as well as the router, which gives access to all the gadgets in your house that are web-enabled.

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Check the Settings for Each Device

The installation process is not something many do enthusiastically – quite the opposite, most of us just want to get it over with.

However, you should take your time to go through all the settings on every device you have, and make sure that you know what each of them does.

If your smart device doesn’t need to be connected to the internet, disable it. If it requires a password, don’t come up with something that is easy to guess – also, do not leave the default password set by the manufacturer.

Most smart devices are easy to configure, so it shouldn’t take you long to do it.

Enable two-step authorization on your accounts, whether they are connected to your smart home or not. Also, pay special attention to apps you use to control or get reports from smart devices – for example, the email address to which the footage from the security camera is sent to.

If cybercriminals get access to it, they’ll be able to tell when you are and aren’t home. In some cases, they might also be able to control the camera.

Focus on Your Router

Since your router acts as a gateway into everything that is internet-connected in your house, including the smart gear, you need to make sure that you keep it as locked down as possible.

Ensure that it is running on the latest firmware, change the default username and password to one that only you and those who you want to share it with will know, and only keep devices connected to it when they need to be.

For example – if you have an Apple TV and smart TV, both of which are connected to the internet, you can actually disconnect the smart TV, as you can use the Apple TV to watch whatever you need.

Be cautious of anything that wants you to edit your router’s settings or bypass its default configuration – both of those things shouldn’t be done without a good reason.

Some routers can give you a list of devices that are currently connected to it, so you can use it to start the gadgets.

Nowadays, there are more and more secure router models – many of them are built with smart homes and internet of things security in mind.

They block a lot of routes commonly used by hackers or malware and lockdown devices that seem questionable in terms of security settings.

There are also some routers that the manufacturers claim can sniff out smart home vulnerabilities for you – however, for now, those are only claims, as there hasn’t been enough third-party testing to confirm them.

If you want to purchase one of those then, do so with caution.

The Bottom Line

Having a smart home is becoming more and more popular these days. Although there are several reasons why this is the case, the most obvious one is convenience. Smart devices make everyday activities a lot easier and can be a lifesaver for forgetful people.

After all, how many times have you found yourself wondering, “Did I turn off the lights?” or “Did I close the garage door?”.

Well, with smart devices, even if you didn’t do it at home, you can do it from wherever you are, with just one click.

However, more electronics also means more opportunities for hackers to access your network and data within it, which is why one of your primary concerns, as someone who has smart devices in their home, is to make sure they are as secure as possible.

We hope that after reading this article, you have an idea about what you should do to keep your smart home safe from cybercriminals. Good luck.

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