How to beef up your smart home security with these unique features?
Photo by Sebastian Scholz (Nuki) on Unsplash
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to make our lives better, enjoyable, and more convenient by interconnecting the tech devices we use every day. It has given birth to smart homes whereby homeowners can now connect everything in the home including the heating system, TVs, baby monitors, security cameras, lighting, and even door locks. All these devices can then be connected to the internet and controlled from a centralized location, using a smartphone.
However, as smart home technology gives you total control of your home, it also exposes it to serious smart home security risks and threats. It is now easy for cyber attackers to take control of your home simply by hacking into your home tech’s central command. You don’t want a hacker to hack into your security systems, for example, and be watching your every move or eavesdropping on your every conversation from a remote location. That’s why you need to leverage these 5 features to beef up the security of your smart home.
Use a next-generation firewall (NGFW)
A next-generation firewall (NGFW) is a huge improvement on the built-in firewall that your router already has. On top of doing what a traditional firewall does, an NGFW comes with an intrusion prevention system (IPS) and an SSL/SSH interception feature. These features detect, intercept, and stop cyber criminals from tearing down your router’s firewall and leaving your connected devices vulnerable.
Invest in a good VPN
Cyber attackers can gain valuable information about your home and the people you live with by monitoring the data each device in your home transmits over the internet. A good virtual private network (VPN) shields your router and gives all your connected devices a secure, encrypted connection to the internet. No one can monitor your online activity when you have a VPN.
Install presence sensing
Wi-Fi presence sensing keeps your smart home safe in so many ways. Just to summarize what it does, this technology uses the location feature on your phone (and your other family members’ phones) to determine whether there is someone at home. It allows you to create a geofence around your home (a virtual perimeter wall), which it then defines as the boundary between your home and the rest of the world. The technology knows you’ve left home immediately after you cross the virtual perimeter.
This technology is built with privacy in mind, so you can be sure that it won’t track your movement. All it is interested in is determining whether you are within your home’s geofence or not. Another cool thing about presence sensing is that it only does what you give it permission to do. You can program it to initiate a certain routine whenever you are away from home e.g. turn off the lights/air conditioning or lock the doors.
Note: Every member of your household has to enable presence sensing settings on their devices for the technology to work optimally. The technology is designed to assume that no one is home if all the devices that are enabled in presence sensing leave the house. It will initiate your set home routine even when someone is home if that person hasn’t enabled the sensing feature on their smartphone.
Use strong passwords
A survey done by GoodFirms and reported by PR Newswire in December 2021 showed that over 45% of tech users have the same password for multiple online accounts. The report also showed that almost a third of all data security breaches are caused by weak password credentials. Don’t be part of these unfortunate stats. Always ensure that your passwords are strong and unique. By unique here we don’t mean one of your kid’s/pet’s name or somebody’s birthday. What you should have is a password made of randomly combined characters and letters that mean something to you and only you. Also, never keep the default names and passwords that your router and other devices come with from the manufacturer.
Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is mostly a 2-factor authentication (2FA) process that requires anyone accessing your home technology to provide set passwords and a second proof of identity. The added layer of security can be in the form of a verification code sent to your phone, a One-Time Pin (OTP), or a security question.
Note: If any of your devices don’t have an in-built multi-factor authentication feature, you can enable one using Google Authenticator.
The greater the interoperability between connected devices in your smart home, the more vulnerable the home becomes. You have to keep tightening the belt around data privacy and security if you’re to stay on the safe side.