Protect Your Smart Home and Personal Connected Devices From Hackers
The recent news that Cambridge Analytica hacked into the accounts of 87 million Facebook users is the latest incident in a string of widespread hackings that have included retailers, banks, credit monitoring services, and more. Everyone who has Smart Home technology or uses a computer, tablet, or smartphone needs to be mindful of this news and what it means for their cyber-safety.
Here are some ways to protect your devices, both at home and when you’re out and about.
Protect Your Smart Home Devices
Smart home technology is becoming more popular every day. It’s estimated that by the end of 2021, there will be 73 million homes throughout North America that are equipped with smart technology, making them fully functional smart homes.
Admittedly, this technology makes life easier for us. But with this convenience also comes increased risk when it comes to cyber-crimes like hacking. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure your smart-home system continues to help, not hurt your family.
1. For every smart home device you have, go into your settings to make sure that you receive notifications about updates.
2. Establish a monthly routine where you check the apps for your smart home devices to find out whether there are any recent firmware updates that you don’t yet have. Completing any software or security updates available to your devices as soon as possible is an important step in keeping them safe.
3. Make sure that you have malware protection on all of your devices. While many smart-home owners skip this step as it comes at an additional cost, it can mean the difference between a secure or compromised system.
4. Consider purchasing two Internet Service Plans so you can separate your devices and Smart Home connected appliances. This helps ensure that if any issues or breaches occurs on one network, the other is not immediately affected.
How to Protect Your Home WiFi and Personal Devices
Similarly, it’s also important to protect more traditional connected devices like your home computer and smartphone.
• Most homes that have WiFi are connected to the Internet through a network. The router makes that network connection possible. Create an SSID (Service Set Identifier) that is unfamiliar to anyone except the people in your house. Protect it with a password or, better yet, create network accounts for every person in the house. Each person will have to sign on to the network using their ID and password. If you change your passwords once a month, you’ll make it harder for hackers to attack you.
• Update your computer’s operating system as soon as the updates are released.
• Computers often come with preinstalled apps. Those apps that are preinstalled are bloatware that typically contains tracking cookies or malware. If your computer came with preinstalled versions of Adobe Flash, Oracle Java, or Apple QuickTime, uninstall them and get rid of them so you can install a clean app from the company website.
• Use a multi-factor or two-step authenticator to ensure that no one can access any apps or sensitive data on your smartphone. Options include an eye scan, a thumb or fingerprint ID, and a phone call or text message with a one-time code.
• If your phone has a built-in VPN feature that you can use for free, activate that whenever you’re using a public WiFi network as WiFi hotspots are unsecured. If your phone doesn’t have a VPN feature, a monthly subscription fee of $5 to $10 will protect your privacy and encrypt data transfers.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can take advantage of your smart home technology features without sacrificing security, contact Britebox, the Atlanta area experts in home automation to schedule an appointment.