In 2022, we have smart features integrated into all of your daily appliances like security cameras, doors, coffee machines, and even thermostats. With growing intricacies grows the need for devices to be connected to the internet. This in turn validates the need to secure your smart home. Here are 8 ways you can secure your smart home in 2022:
1. Secure the WiFi
Smart home technologies communicate with the control hub through WiFi. As it’s necessary to have the whole setup in the same network, securing your WiFi with the best cybersecurity practices is critical. Let’s discuss the best practices to secure the network.
Default Name and Password
Router manufacturers provide a default admin name and password for all of their devices. This name and password can easily be found by trackers online. Whenever you bring home a new router, change the default name and password as soon as possible.
Also, don’t use a network name that’s easily recognizable and can be used to narrow your location down.
Don’t leave the default password unchanged. Use a password that has numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols. This applies to both the WPA and admin panel. If your password isn’t strong enough, brute force attacks can be initiated to get access to your network effortlessly. The visual data chart from IronTech Security that tells us how long it takes a hacker to brute force a password.
Turn off Your WiFi
It’s a corollary from the above data that if your password is weak, hackers can access the network in days or weeks by just being connected to your network. If you don’t need the smart home system while not being home, consider turning it off to prevent hackers from gaining access.
Place Your Router Away from Walls
It’s wise to keep your router in the center of your home. It also is more convenient this way as you will get better access to every appliance. Keeping the router in the center can prevent the attackers from reaching the network physically.
2. Use a Proxy
Using a proxy can be quite effective in securing your smart home system. Proxies are networks of intermediary routers that help keep your connections private. Let’s understand how proxies work to keep your home safe.
Suppose you have a smart coffee maker that is vulnerable to exploits. It is possible for an attacker to push a delay in the brewing schedule. It’s horrifically easier to achieve and can be done to other appliances that have access to more sensitive information, say, like webcams. Using residential proxies mitigates the risk by making the connections harder to establish.
Using a proxy also allows you to implement multi-factor authentication into your network. Thus, even if an attacker gains access to the network, they would be blocked by the layers of required authentication.
3. Update the Appliance Software
Smart home devices aren’t particularly designed with the greatest cybersecurity measures in mind. With more and more devices needing to connect to the internet, the risk of attackers hijacking your network grows exponentially
As awareness about network security and vulnerability increases, companies and consumers are trying to stay abreast with updates to fix the loopholes in network security.
Not having knowledge about your network being vulnerable is one thing, but once found, fixing it is pivotal. Organizations try to make the information available to the public for developmental purposes. If your device isn’t updated, the hackers knowing the vulnerability can exploit it to gain access.
Updating the appliance can also introduce new features and quality of life improvements.
4. Use a Different Network
Most WiFi routers nowadays offer a feature that lets you keep your primary network separate from the smart home network. It allows you to manually configure the internet access of the appliances and keep hackers away from the system. If you have enough central hubs, offline automation is also possible and preferable.
Although the manufacturers encrypt the devices as much as possible, absence of a direct bridge between the smart home appliances and your phone or laptop can buff the security up extensively.
As 2.4GHz connections are a requirement for smart home appliances, a dedicated network can also help stabilize the connection. A dedicated network doesn’t mean having a second router though. You can make use of the guest mode of your routers to establish a new network.
5. Use a Firewall
The default firewall that the routers offer is often insignificant. They provide very little inbound/outbound traffic control. But using a dedicated firewall to listen to the ports and review the connected devices can solve the security issues of smart home systems.
Hardware firewalls are physical network devices that sit between the internet and the network devices (smart home devices) to block access to malicious activities originating from or targeting appliances.
Software firewalls are programs that you need to install on your device that you operate the smart devices with. In comparison to hardware firewalls, software firewalls are more convenient and easier to set up for home use.
6. Stop Network Name Broadcasting
If you’ve set a different network for your smart home, you can stop your network from broadcasting the name . There should be a built-in feature to stop your router from showing the network name to outsiders. Only the devices that you choose (e.g., your mobile) can access or modify the router panels.
7. Use Higher Encryptions
Use WPA2 or WPA3 encryption protocols whenever using the smart home network. While most recent routers offer at least WPA3 encryption, if your router isn’t one, consider upgrading it.
8. Enable MAC Address Filtering
MAC addresses are physical network addresses of the smart devices that are connected to your router. The MAC address of a device is permanent and is quite tough to change. Consider enabling MAC filtering on your router to prevent external devices from connecting to your network.
The Bottom Line
Smart home systems have enriched our lives in many ways. From motion-sensing cameras to biometric doors, in terms of security and convenience, smart home appliances have come a long way. But they still aren’t as secure as we’d prefer. To ensure that your quality of life and sensitive data aren’t compromised, secure your WiFi, use a proxy, and keep updating the devices.