Updated: Jun 4
How Can Smart Homes Be Hacked?, Are The Smart House devices Secured From The Cyber Attacks?, Are You Safe With The Smart Home IOT Technology?
As the popularity of smart home technology continues to grow, you may be one of the many homeowners enjoying the convenience of virtual assistants, smart appliances, smart home security, smart lighting and more, but have you wondered whether smart homes are secured from cyber attacks? It’s a good question, because smart home technology has the potential to put your personal information at risk of being compromised. You’ll want to do what you can to protect your smart home from hackers.
When you consider the different ways homeowners are using smart devices in their homes, it’s no surprise that the risks have increased. From regulating a home’s temperature to controlling entry into a home through monitoring, locking and unlocking doors, smart devices have become part of everyday household routines in many homes.
Despite all their awesome benefits and like any digital technology, smart home devices can be vulnerable to hacking, and can therefore introduce the possibility that your sensitive information and home safety and security could be at risk.
How Can Smart Home Be Hacked?
Before we dive into steps you can help to prevent cyber attacks from penetrating your smart home devices, let’s answer a fundamental question: How can a smart home be hacked in the first place?
A smart home’s vulnerability lies in its connectivity to the internet. Any smart home device that is capable to connect to the internet has the potential to be hacked, accessed remotely, and in many cases, even controlled by outside users just as any website or computer can be. The devices themselves may have little or no built-in security measures, making them susceptible to attacks by software that is designed to gain unauthorized access to a computer or home network, potentially allowing your personal information to be exposed. Or, as the case may be, the devices may have security features that you need to set up or enable. So, review the information that come with the devices to confirm the built-in security and to determine if there are steps you need to take to enable the security features. The key to preventing a cyber attack is to first recognize the device’s potential vulnerabilities and to then make sure you have the necessary security built-in and appropriately set up to properly safeguard your home network and your smart devices.
The key to preventing a hack is to safeguard the network your devices are connected to, as well as to secure your individual devices using strong passwords and other safety measures.
To help prevent your smart home technology from being hacked, consider the following tips:
Tip #1 - Understand your smart home devices and their vulnerabilities
The first step toward protecting your smart home technology from hacks is to identify which devices are capable to connect to the internet and whether there is a need or desire to connect those specific devices. You will also need to understand what security features are available for a device before purchasing it or installing and connecting it to your home network.
For example, if your smart speaker is connected to your Wifi router, which is also connected to your smart TV, your intercom doorbell, smart door lock and your smart thermostat, then any one of those smart products can pass on vulnerabilities to another. If one device is hacked, the rest may be susceptible to the hack. Therefore, you’ll need a plan to protect not just one device, but every item in your smart automation system.
Tip #2 - Use only reputable smart home technology brands
Some smart home technologies are expensive and, for many of us, it can be tempting to cut corners and buy the lowest priced product. Consider your options carefully, and keep in mind that choosing based on price alone may come with added risk. You may expect that brand names typically tend to take extra precautions to protect their reputation, which may mean they take security seriously. But even brand names can be hacked. There are no guarantees, so it’s important to research your options appropriately.
Tip #3 - Protect your WiFi network
When you are setting up your WiFi router, or if you have not updated default settings, it’s very important to create a strong and unique password for your WiFi network. The default password, for example, the one that’s labeled on your router or given to you by your service provider, may present a vulnerability. Choose a unique password that’s not used on any of your other devices or accounts and use it only for your network. You should also use WPA2 encryption (located in your router settings) and enable any firewall that’s available.
Refer to the product information from the manufacturer included with your WiFi router when you bought it, for more detailed guidance. If you need help accessing your router settings, beyond product information, visit the manufacturer’s website. Your service provider’s website may also be a good resource.
Additionally, consider working with your service provider or router manufacturer to learn how to keep your router up to date with the latest security updates.
Tip #4 - Use unique passwords for everything
Having a unique password for your network may not be enough to safeguard your smart devices. Consider having designated passwords for all your devices each one different and specific to that product only. Be sure to update these passwords at least a few times a year.
Also consider enabling multi-factor identification. This usually requires entering a code that’s randomly generated and sent to you by text, email or mobile app. Additionally, you may want to consider using a secure, easy-to-use and reputable password manager, to manage your logon credentials across all your devices. A password manager is an encrypted digital vault that stores the login information you use to access websites. It can generate strong passwords to help ensure you aren’t repeating them across your devices and services and is another way you can keep your passwords safe.
Tip #5 - Secure your smart home devices
Unique passwords aren’t the only way to secure your individual smart devices. Consider going into the privacy settings of each device and make sure you have the highest security options enabled. You’ll also want to disable remote access while you’re there (unless it’s a feature you absolutely need). Also, consider disabling WiFi on devices that you choose not to use as a smart device.
Finally, it’s important to be careful about how you manage and use your smart home automation technology. Accessing your intercom doorbell, smart door lock, or home security system while connected to a public network (like at a coffee shop, or Airport for example) can put your entire home at risk. Never access your smart devices on an open or unprotected network. Instead, use your own personal hotspot or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) app to protect yourself before opening these connections.
Smart Home Devices Can Be A Safe & Convenient
With adequate security measures in place, your smart home devices can be a safe and convenient addition to your household. Keep in mind that security risks are constantly evolving, so it is important to update and manage the security of smart devices as well as your home network regularly.
The possibilities for smart home devices are always expanding. Some homeowners use smart technology to turn on lights and appliances remotely from their mobile devices, or set and schedule different routines to automatically control the room temperatures, movie night, gathering with lighting schemes throughout their home. Other people use the smart solutions to play music, keep their schedule, shop online, or schedule alerts and reminders.