6 Ways To Ensure That Online Security Threats Do Not Make Your Smart Home Vulnerable
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
Ralph Goodman, contributor
The desire to make tasks more efficient and streamlined is a major driving factor behind a vast number of technological advancements. 10 years ago I would never have thought that you could have a personal assistant and a speaker gelled into one device, and yet something like the Amazon Echo exists. The smart home has developed in the same way and the industry that birthed it is constantly working to take bigger strides towards making the home more efficient and technologically forward.
One of the biggest challenges that the smart home industry has faced is the universal concern about the level of its security. Smart homes have some inherent flaws that people are not aware of yet, simply because the smart home is a fairly new concept (in comparison to traditional homes). In most cases, people become aware of these flaws once someone exploits them, but that is not an ideal situation for any homeowner.
The Smart homes basic functionality goes hand in hand with network access. It is important for the devices in your smart home to be on a shared network to maximize their efficiency and promote the transmission of data over shared devices. The fact that any smart home needs basic network connectivity to even function presents a whole new set of vulnerabilities. The smart home is susceptible to cyber security attacks. Cyber attacks can be used to leave your home vulnerable to physical attacks, steal your private data or even eavesdrop on private conversations. Needless to say, the security of the smart home is crucial and online security has a big role to play in this. Let’s take a look at some of the measures homeowners can employ to make sure that their online security does not cripple their smart home.
1. Proper Password Management
The average person does not put a lot of thought into the passwords that they use. Many people use the same password, or variations of it, on several different devices. It is important for homeowners to make sure that each of their connected smart devices has a strong unique password. This will help prevent hackers from gaining easy access to every device on your network. In addition to this, regularly change your passwords and try to steer clear of using variations of old passwords. If homeowners efficiently and expertly manage their passwords, they will help increase the effectiveness of their cyber security.
2. Enhanced Firewall and Network Security
A strong firewall and rigid network security measures will help keep your smart home devices secure when they are online. A firewall helps to keep unauthorized users away from your network. In some cases, the smart device itself might have security protocols that are meant to keep it secure. High-security encryption methods are often used to verify and validate the users on both ends. These are extremely important to have in any smart home because there will very likely be multiple people attempting to access your devices and your home network. Therefore, it is necessary for your security to be able to decipher who should be given access and who should be turned away.
3. System Updates
A majority of Smart Home devices cannot be upgraded through the use of 3rd party applications. 3rd party upgrades and security applications are some of the most common ways that people keep their computers and network features safe. The updates for most smart home devices have to be issued by the manufacturer and most of these devices are not able to remotely update on their own. This is why it is important for users to constantly check that their devices are up to date so that they take advantage of all software patches and updates. Homeowners should also make sure that their Smart Home networks or IoT networks are constantly scanning for system vulnerabilities so that they can be dealt with before they are exploited. This process will help reduce the chance of unauthorized users making use of any flaws that are within the system.
4. Monitor Network Access
The points that have been laid out above are all meant to help homeowners have more control over their smart home network and devices, while also simultaneously reducing the chance of anyone hacking into your home. However, none of these measures will be effective if users are not paying attention to the way that their devices operate. It is important to be cognizant of the type of access you allow your IoT devices. In some cases, these devices can access a network and other devices without being properly vetted and authorized. This tends to happen with devices and routers that make use of the universal plug-and-play features. Homeowners should monitor the type of network access their devices have and if any of them are equipped with plug-and-play features, make sure that you disable this feature before you allow it continued access to your network.
5. VPN Services
Smart Home security can also be made much stronger if homeowners make use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN). VPN’s are one of the best ways to help provide secure access to networks through the use of encryption. Employing this measure will help homeowners encrypt and mask all the data that they are transmitting over their network, and in the case of a Smart Home Network that is a great deal of sensitive data. One of the best VPN services that homeowners can make use of is VPN Unlimited. VPN Unlimited will aid homeowners in keeping their identities and sensitive information secure and safe from cyber criminals.
6. Utilize SIEM Software
SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. SIEM software is meant to provide users with an analysis of security alerts that are generated across a network. These types of software help users effectively manage any threats or issues that arise within their network before it gets out of hand or someone finds a way to exploit it. This is a crucial addition to any smart home network because it essentially helps you manage all your smart devices and helps keep track of their actions. Many homeowners might find it hard to manage their smart home devices as well as their own busy lives, which is why SIEM exists to help you out.
The Smart Home is here to stay; it is a fact that many have acknowledged. It might be too early in its conception to determine how popular and accessible it is going to become, but it is safe to say that the smart home is now a part of modern society. Though the Smart Home may be convenient and groundbreaking to many, it has security flaws that need to be monitored and bolstered in order to prevent data breaches or cyber attacks on unsuspecting homeowners. Hopefully, the points outlined above will help ensure that cyber security does not make your smart home vulnerable. It is also equally important to understand that smart homes have physical vulnerabilities as well, so it is important to make sure that your home and your smart devices are not easily accessible. It might be best to consult with a trusted locksmith in your area who might be able to provide you with better security insight.
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.