The rise of smart home items has changed the way we cooperate with our living places. From thermostats & lighting systems to refrigerators and door locks, these devices offer suitability and productivity like never before. However, with the amplified connectivity of our homes comes the need for boosted security measures. This article explores important safety tips for smart homes to protect your privacy & guarantee a safe, secure environment.
1. Use a Vpn
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be utilized with smart home appliances to enable secure remote access and protect against potential hacking threats. By connecting your smart devices to a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, you can control them from anywhere while ensuring your data remains encrypted and private, enhancing both convenience and security.
2. Keep Firmware & Software Up to Date
Just like your smartphones and computers, smart home appliances require regular updates to stay secure. Manufacturers release firmware and software updates to patch vulnerabilities and enhance security. Make it a habit to check for updates for your smart appliances and install them promptly.
Many modern smart devices have an automatic update feature that you can enable, ensuring that your appliances stay protected without manual intervention. Regular updates not only improve security but also enhance the performance and features of your devices.
3. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
The foundation of your smart home’s security is your Wi-Fi network. To safeguard it:
a. Use strong encryption: Enable WPA3 encryption for your Wi-Fi network, as it offers better security than older encryption methods like WPA2.
b. Change the default network name (SSID): Avoid using easily identifiable network names that reveal your address or brand of router. Create a unique SSID that doesn’t give away any personal information.
c. Set a strong Wi-Fi password: Use a complex, long, and unique passphrase to protect access to your network.
d. Enable a guest network: If your router supports it, create a separate guest network for visitors. This network should have its own password and limited access to your smart devices.
4. Use Network Segmentation
Consider segmenting your home network to isolate smart devices from your main network. This can be done by setting up a VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) or using a separate router for your smart home appliances. This way, even if a smart device is compromised, it won’t have direct access to your sensitive data or other devices on your primary network.
5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA), like the one from Microsoft, for your smart home appliance accounts whenever possible. 2FA adds an extra coating of protection by demanding you to provide a 2nd verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access to your smart home systems.
6. Review App Permissions
The apps used to control your smart home devices often request various permissions on your smartphone. Be cautious when granting these permissions and review them regularly. Only grant the necessary permissions for the app to function properly. For example, a smart thermostat app, such as Total Connect Comfort, doesn’t need access to your phone’s camera or microphone.
7. Secure Physical Access
Physical security is just as important as digital security. Ensuring the security of your home should be a high priority for both you and your loved ones. One way to make your home safer is to ensure that your smart home appliances are physically secure. For instance, change default PIN codes on smart locks, place security cameras out of reach, and keep your smart home hub in a locked and secure location.
8. Regularly Audit and Disconnect Unused Devices
As you accumulate smart devices, it’s easy to lose track of them. Regularly audit your smart home ecosystem and remove any devices you no longer use or need. Disconnect and factory reset them from your network before disposing of them properly.
9. Monitor Device Activity
Regularly monitor the behaviour of your smart home appliances through their respective apps or a dedicated home automation hub. Keep an eye out for any unusual or unauthorized actions, such as unexpected changes in thermostat settings, door locks, or lights turning on or off without your command.
Setting up alerts & notifications for unusual action can be a practical way to detect latent security breaks early. If you see any suspicious activity, examine it promptly, change passwords if necessary, and consider contacting customer support or an expert to evaluate the security of your smart home.
Smart home gadgets have made our lives more suitable and efficient, but they also need careful attention to security. By following these security tips for smart home appliances, you can protect your privacy, secure your living space, and enjoy the benefits of a connected home with peace of mind. Staying watchful and active in safeguarding your smart home is vital for a safe setting for you and your family.