The Internet of Things (IoT) is about connecting devices to the net. It involves many ordinary devices that are found around the home, such as coffee makers, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, locks, and security cameras. Imagine your clock connected to the Internet, as well as your windows, blinds, hot water heaters, lighting, air conditioning, and heating. In fact, it extends to virtually any device, and it is part of automating your home, which is also called a smart home.
Many people of a certain generation recall the television show The Jetsons. But, this fictional show, with things running with the push of a button, is quickly becoming a reality. However, while a smart home is designed to make your life easier, you need to prepare for the security pitfalls.
The new technology leaves people exposed to hacking, unfortunately. Even worse, you may not know a perpetrator has committed a crime against you until much later.
Your first line of defense is to protect your e-mail accounts. Beware of phishing, a scam where the sender sends a request for you to share personal information from a seemingly legitimate organization’s e-mail address.
Line of defenses
There are several things you can do to protect yourself and your home from a hacker. First, make sure the device’s security is up to date. This is typically not as simple as doing so on your PC, which seeks updates and does so automatically. When there is an update notification, you should download it and complete the process as soon as you can.
Next, there are malware programs you can purchase. Certain basic ones are free, but you should consider purchasing an upgrade for extra protection. Many new routers are built considering smart home protection. If yours is a few years old, you may wish to consider upgrading it.
While a lot of people use free public Wi-Fi, but these are vulnerable to attack. Once a hacker accesses your phone or laptop, your other devices are now open to attack.
Try to frequently change your password. It is inconvenient, but it helps to defend your home devices. This is challenging, but avoid obvious passwords (e.g. password or some derivation such as password123). Capital letters and special symbols are a good idea to include. Of course, if you are not prompted, change the device’s default username and password immediately after you purchase the item.
Experts recommend buying large, well-known brands, such as Samsung and LG. This gives you more resources defending against a hack and likely a better response in case it happens. You should also check the devices’ settings. Some may not need to access the Internet.
Moving on to more complex steps, you can use separate Internet connections for your devices. You can set up a separate connection or split up your existing one using a virtual local area network. You can hire companies to take care of the latter for you.
An extra layer
There are devices you can purchase that only look for suspicious activity on your home gadgets. These range from around $130 to $250. However, we recommend using care when deciding whether or not to purchase such items since these are relatively new and have not gone through extensive testing.