How to Keep Your Smart Home from Turning Against You

Smart homes have seamlessly integrated into contemporary life, making it commonplace to instruct your refrigerator to update your digital grocery list.

These technologically advanced residences offer unmatched convenience and efficiency. With just a smartphone app, you can manage your lighting and thermostat, while virtual assistants like Alexa are readily available. However, as we embrace this convenience, it’s crucial to acknowledge the potential risks and take proactive measures to prevent your smart home from becoming a source of trouble.

Recent headlines have illuminated the vulnerabilities inherent in smart home technology, as exemplified by the New York Post’s article titled “Locked Out & Hacked: When Smart Homes Turn on Owners.”

This article recounts nightmarish scenarios involving smart homes, such as a new homeowner finding himself unexpectedly locked in due to preprogrammed settings. At 11:30 p.m., the home insisted it was bedtime and secured all the doors.

Another unsettling tale features a woman who endured harassment in her own home, with her ex-partner maliciously manipulating the smart technology, causing lights and sounds to torment her.

As our homes become increasingly intelligent, it is imperative to learn how to avoid similar experiences. In the following discussion, we will explore essential strategies to safeguard your home and protect your privacy.

Smart Home Safety Tips You Need to Use

1. Secure Your Network


At the core of every smart home lies its network infrastructure. In the same way, you wouldn’t leave your front door wide open, it’s crucial not to overlook the security of your Wi-Fi network.

Consider these recommended actions:

  1. Replace the default password on your router with a robust and distinctive one.
  2. Opt for WPA3 encryption (keep an eye out for Wi-Fi 6 compatibility).
  3. Establish a separate guest network to isolate your smart devices from your primary network.
  4. Consistently update your router’s firmware to guarantee it has the most up-to-date security enhancements and patches.

2. Strengthen Device Passwords


When configuring your smart devices, exercise vigilance when selecting robust and distinct passwords. Refrain from utilizing easily predictable choices such as “123456” or “password.” Instead, opt for a blend of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. For an extra layer of security, contemplate the use of a password manager.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)


Numerous smart home device makers provide 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) as an additional security measure. By activating 2FA, you can effectively thwart unauthorised access attempts. Even if someone succeeds in guessing your password, they will be unable to progress beyond the secondary authentication phase. This serves as an additional barrier against unauthorised entry.

4. Regularly Update Firmware


Firmware updates play a critical role in addressing security vulnerabilities within your smart devices. Manufacturers issue these updates to address identified weaknesses. Develop the practice of routinely inspecting for firmware updates and promptly implementing them.

5. Vet Your Devices


Smart devices do not share the same level of quality and security. When selecting new devices for your smart home, it is vital to investigate the manufacturer’s track record. Seek out products with a proven history of timely updates and strong security attributes. Steer clear of acquiring devices from lesser-known or untrustworthy brands.

6. Isolate Sensitive Devices

Contemplate the idea of isolating your most sensitive devices onto a distinct network, when feasible. For instance, establish a dedicated network for:

  1. Smart locks
  2. Security cameras
  3. Other essential devices

This arrangement keeps them apart from your less critical gadgets, like smart bulbs or speakers. By doing so, even if a hacker manages to breach one network, the security of the other devices remains intact.

7. Review App Permissions


Smart home applications frequently seek access to multiple permissions on your devices. Prior to granting these permissions, thoroughly examine the data the app intends to access. Determine whether it is essential for the device’s proper functioning. Limit permissions to the bare minimum necessary for the device to operate.

8. Be Cautious with Voice Assistants


Voice-activated assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant offer remarkable convenience but can also introduce privacy concerns. Take the time to review and adjust your voice assistant’s privacy settings. Exercise caution when disclosing information to them. Additionally, contemplate muting the microphone when not in active use to prevent unintentional eavesdropping.

9. Check Your Devices Regularly


Consistently monitor the status and operation of your smart devices, and remain vigilant for any uncommon occurrences. This includes devices unexpectedly powering on or off or unfamiliar devices appearing on your network. In the event you detect anything suspicious, promptly conduct an investigation and take appropriate action.

10. Understand Your Device’s Data Usage


Examine the privacy policy of your smart device and gain insight into how it utilizes your data. Certain devices might gather and distribute your information to third parties, potentially for advertising or other objectives. Ensure that you make informed choices when selecting the devices you integrate into your household.

11. Stay Informed

Lastly, remain well-informed about the latest advancements in smart home security. Stay updated by subscribing to security newsletters, tracking respected tech blogs, and staying abreast of news articles, such as the one featured in the New York Post. The more knowledge you acquire, the more effectively you can safeguard your smart home.

Get Expert Help With Smart Home Security

Smart homes provide remarkable convenience, but they also entail risks that should not be disregarded. Do you require professional assistance in configuring your smart home security? Feel free to reach out to us today to arrange a consultation.


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