Cyber Security As A Smart Home Issue – How Can You Protect Yourself?

by Sachin

In the past years, we’re noticing that the home security industry seems to go hand in hand with the home automation one. Home security systems are a major part of the entire smart home experience because they provide advanced functionality and features that a conventional system won’t give you.

And what all of those smart devices have in common is the fact that they all make use of your home’s Wi-Fi network to communicate. We’re talking about communication between each other, and of course, communication with you. With all that in place, you might be noticing that a single device becoming compromised might easily compromise the rest of them, as well as your personal data.

This makes things a cybersecurity problem, and not a lot of people know how to protect themselves against these kinds of attacks. What if someone accesses your thermostat, sees the usage patterns and determines when you aren’t at home? This tells them when they could potentially break into your house, and that’s not something you want to do.

That being said, how do you actually protect yourself against these issues? It’s all about tightening security, and you can do a few things that cost little to no money but go a long way towards this goal, so let’s take a look at them. 

Keep Your Wi-Fi Network Secure

We already mentioned that your Wi-Fi network is the one thing they all have in common, so someone gaining access to it might potentially mean that they can also get access to all the devices connected to it, too. Therefore, the first step is to make sure that the network is secure.

On a hardware level, the best you can do is get an upgraded router. This may or may not cost you too much, depending on the extra functionality you want from it, but make sure you have one that has guest networks and multiple SSIDs available.

Another thing is that nowadays, guests might expect you to provide them with internet access when they’re at your home. However, that’s no reason to give them access to all of your devices. To help with this, you can go for one of two ways.

The first one is to set up a guest network that they can use, which would be separate from the network you have for your own devices. Guest networks are rather independent and do have some limitations, so all the devices that you’ve set up will be safe and sound, and you don’t have to worry about them.

The other one is to have all of your home security devices on a network that’s separate from the one you use and have that network hidden. Some people might still get access to your home network, and if you don’t want that compromising security, have your home security system on a different network. A more advanced router will give you the option to create a separate SSID and keep it hidden, so even if someone searches for your network, they won’t be able to see it.

Oh, and lest we forget, change your Wi-Fi password regularly. This way even if someone did gain access to it at some point, you’ll be kicking them out when you change it. Make sure it’s unique and complex enough so nobody can just guess it.

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi For Home Security

This is another mistake that a lot of people do. The main thing about smart home security systems is the fact that you can connect to them from pretty much anywhere you are. This might make it tempting for you to check up on your home security when you’re connected to an unsecured, public Wi-Fi network.

However, it’s best if you avoid doing this. Yes, you might think that a VPN can help (and it sometimes will) but you can’t really know who is monitoring that network and how right? It’s best if you stay safe, and if you really need to check things at home, use your mobile data instead.

Update Software And Firmware Regularly

A lot of people are guilty of just swiping away software updates and ignoring them completely, but this is actually a major mistake, especially with a smart home. Many of those updates, both software, and firmware, contain fixes to potential security issues that might’ve come up since the device was released.

Yes, it’s ideal if these updates happen automatically, but oftentimes they don’t, so you have to do them manually. Stop thinking “I don’t really need it”, and instead, update everything as soon as you can – your router, your modem, all your devices’ software. It’s going to make a massive difference in the level of security of your home, and that’s what you’re aiming for, isn’t it?

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