Smart Home Security – NHSM Week 5

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Security for Smart Homes
Nowadays, all manner of electrical items and utilities can be converted into ‘smart’ devices. For the average homeowner, this means that more and more of their gadgets are now being linked into their home network, which poses a number of fantastic benefits as well as a number of things to consider.

Remote connectivity is very convenient in today’s fast paced culture, saving users time, energy and money. Unfortunately though, while people are choosing to go  high-tech with everything else, they often forget to check the quality of their network security.

Consider this: if your door lock, alarm system and garage door are all linked into your broadband network, all it would take is for someone to hack into your router to access these systems! This means that smart gadgets are also highly convenient for the tech-savvy criminal, which is why it’s imperative that any ‘smart home’ is also smart about cyber security. A few things to think about are:

Make sure that any passwords used for your home network or devices are very secure. Never use the word ‘password’, and avoid using anything that would be easy to guess such as your house name or the name of a pet. You should always try to ensure that you use a variety of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols when creating a password, and should never use the same password for more than one thing! You can see more tips for creating a secure password on our ‘Passwords’ blog post.

Passwords are only the simplest thing that you can do to protect your router from unwanted guest users. You can also update your settings to disable guest access, and change your network name to something more cryptic so that it is not as obvious that the network belongs to you. Switching on a firewall is also a good first line of defense against would-be hackers.

The majority of the gadgets in your smart home probably came with accompanying mobile applications. It’s important that you check regularly for any available app updates and install them whenever they become available to improve the security of that system. Updates contain crucial firewall updates, bug fixes and adjustments that can significantly improve the security of the application.

Like your other devices, it’s equally important to make sure that your smartphone is protected by an appropriate password. This way, if ever you lose your phone, it will be much more difficult for someone to access your data and applications. If you have an iPhone, it’s also a good idea to enable the ‘find my iPhone’ function, to make it easier to locate your phone if it does go astray.