Smart home technology has given us unprecedented control over our homes. From climate and lighting control, to surveillance monitoring, to alarm system activation, remote interaction with home technology is now literally in the palm of our hand.
All signs indicate that the use of smart home technology, like Intelligent Home Design by TVTI, is on the rise. Twenty-one percent of U.S. homes are already using the technology to some extent, and more than a third (36%) of homes are primed to incorporate smart home design in the coming years.1
The challenge comes in protecting your home from those with ill intentions—that is, hackers and cybercriminals. Concerns about keeping home automation devices secure are not unwarranted. Hackers are attempting to access corporate and consumer networks through connected gadgets like smartphones with increasing frequency, even prompting the FBI to issue a warning last year.
While security is a concern, it certainly shouldn’t deter us from embracing smart home technology and all the benefits it provides—it’s just a matter of being security savvy. Let’s explore some tips and recommendations for protecting your smart home.
#1: Secure Your Network
Smart technology devices require an Internet connection to operate, increasing your susceptibility to hackers. An unsecured Wi-Fi network is a welcome invitation for criminals. Instead, turn on Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which creates a secure network using encryption. Also make sure that all firewalls on your computer and wireless router are enabled (your router acts as a firewall in itself, but it can’t protect you from all threats, e.g., viruses attached to emails—read more here).
If you haven’t already, change the preset username and password on your router, and change it periodically going forward. If you no longer have the instructions that came with your router, do an internet search on “how to change a Wi-Fi password” and be sure to type in the provider name of your router. Also consider creating multiple network identities—one for online banking, one for online purchases, etc.
#2: Secure Your Smartphone
Since smartphones are the devices most of us will use to control the smart features of our homes (the door locks and security system, for example), it’s critical to make sure your phone is secure should it get into the wrong hands. If you haven’t already created a password for your phone, do it now. Apps can also be gateways to security threats. Look into security and antivirus software for your phone, especially if you have an Android device, which has a more open model.
#3: Install Security Software on Your Devices
There are many free security programs available today that will protect you sufficiently, especially when coupled with a router. Windows Defender comes preinstalled in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, and MS Security Essentials can be downloaded free for earlier versions of Windows. Whatever security software you choose, look for a provider that makes software that can protect multiple devices, including your smartphone. A few tips for Windows users: Regularly install Windows updates for added protection, and turn on Windows Firewall when you’re traveling (at a minimum).
With the rapid growth of IoT devices, it’s more important than ever to ensure your equipment is secure. Following these simple steps will prevent hackers and cybercriminals from infiltrating your smart home technology.