Is your smart home a playground for hackers?

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You wouldn’t leave the doors and windows unlocked in your home. Likewise, you need to secure your connected devices and systems. If hackers get in, they can steal your personal information, turn off your security system, and more.

 

Let’s look at ways to increase the security of your system and tighten up the privacy settings for your devices.

 

When you set up a new system or device, follow these tips:

  • Consider setting up multiple wi-fi networks. One for your computers where you store personal information, like banking, one for your interconnected hub, and one for guests.
  • Buy devices that meet secured transmission protocol standards like ZigBee, Z-Wave or S2.
  • When you install a new device or system, immediately change the default usernames and passwords. Choose a 12-character password that is different from all other passwords that you use.
  • In addition to a new password, add two-factor authentication, such as a code that is sent to your phone.
  • Install all security updates issued for your devices and software.
  • Install malware protection for your network and devices.
  • Never connect to your home automation network over open or public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off remote access for your router. If you can control it from a distance, so can a hacker.
  • Unplug devices that you don’t use on a 24/7 basis to put them off-limits to hackers.
  • Disable features that you don’t need.

Now let’s look at some tips to increase your privacy when using your home system and devices:

  • Limit what you connect to your voice-controlled device. It’s one thing to have your sound system connected; it’s another to connect your security system.
  • Don’t share passwords, account numbers, or other private information with Siri, Alexa, Google, or any other voice-activated assistants.
  • Remember that voice-activated assistants are always listening. Turn off the microphone when you don’t want to be heard. If your device has a camera, turn that off as well when you’re not using it.
  • Disable voice purchasing. You can’t be sure that you’re the only one who ever speaks to your device or orders items online.
  • Don’t use your assistant to pay bills or do other actions that involve your personal financial data.
  • Check the settings to determine how much information you want to send back to the manufacturer of your device. Adjust the amount of activity collected, how often you want data to be deleted, and if you want to pause the sharing of information.

When you’re not using the device, disconnect it from the internet. This will reduce the chances of it being spotted by hackers looking for unsecured devices.

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