While having a home automation system may give you more control over your home, it can also give hackers a window into your personal life.

Researchers at Saarland University found that hackers could use basic equipment to access home automation systems, which can reveal a lot about the inhabitants’ behaviors and habits.  There are even concerns about automated door locks being hacked and opened.

You want the added convenience of home automation, without the risk. We’ve got seven ways to help you defend your system from potential hackers.

1. Secure your router.

One common mistake homeowners make is leaving their internet router open for hackers to access. Many people forget to change the password on their router and use the default password it came with, making a hacker’s job much easier. Change your password to an un-obvious code (no birthdays or address numbers) and make sure your router is equipped with Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA2) to ensure maximum security from hackers.

2. Use a reputable brand.

Before you install a home automation service in your home, make sure you are getting one from a reputable security company who is prepared to protect you from hackers. Ask them what security measures they have in place to prevent third parties from gaining access before you purchase their services.

3. Check the camera logs.

Most surveillance cameras allow users to review the history of which IP addresses have accessed to the camera feed. Regularly check the camera logs to make sure no one has taken advantage of your home surveillance system to spy on you. If there has been a breech, change your password and contact your security provider immediately.

4. Don’t use public Wi-Fi.

Hackers can use public Wi-Fi to get other people’s information without them knowing. Using home automation applications on public Wi-Fi can give hackers access to your personal data. Make sure you switch to a mobile data service or a secure network before using a home automation application.

5. Frequently change passwords.

Passwords are your first line of defense against hackers, so keep your passwords strong and unpredictable. Change them frequently on your Internet router, home automation application, and even your cell phone. Consider using a password generator to create even stronger passwords.

6. Update the applications you use.

Home automation companies often test their programs for bugs or weaknesses that hackers can take advantage of. Applications are updated to patch any problems, so make sure you install the updates as soon as possible to prevent hackers from taking advantage of weaknesses in the system.

7. Install a home security system.

Don’t rely solely on your home automation system to help keep you protected. Installing a strong and reliable home security system, with features like motion detectors and door sensors, will help prevent criminals from entering your home, even if they do hack into your automation system.

Home automation helps make your life easier and it’s simple to follow these tips to help keep your home secure at the same time. Take action to make sure your system is as secure as possible.

Written by Holly King

Holly is a regular safety and security contributor for Safewise. In her spare time she enjoys cycling, cooking and re-organizing her home. Learn more

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