As smart homes continue to gain popularity, questions around the security and privacy of connected devices have become more prevalent. While smart devices can make daily tasks easier, connecting everyday devices to the internet means there’s a potential for unwanted cyber intrusion. Security for the Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic, with news like the recent Wi-Fi KRACK vulnerability making national headlines and articles being published every day warning consumers to be wary of smart home security. These articles are alarming whether you have a full-fledged smart home system or you’re just beginning to research how to add connected devices to your home.
How to Protect Your WiFi
Norton WiFi Privacy is our top pick for in-home and public WiFi security. Also, be on the lookout for our Internet Safety Guide (coming soon!).
4 Steps to Protect Your Internet Connected Devices
While it’s important to look at the security of each connected product you bring into your home, there are several precautions you can take to keep your smart home safe once everything is connected:
- Be sure to change the username and password for each internet-connected smart home device from its default factory settings.
- Use passwords that are long and difficult to guess (i.e. not your name or street address).
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access your smart home remotely. Public Wi-Fi networks are very vulnerable, and hackers can use them to gain entry to your home via what’s called a man-in-the-middle attack.
- Keep your devices up to date—always install the latest software updates to ensure you have the best defense against malware and other online threats.
While the above steps will help keep your smart home safe, this level of proactive home network protection may not be enough to keep your home completely secure. Hackers can sneak into systems through vulnerabilities in local devices like window sensors or door locks, or through the cloud. This is where the level of security on the devices themselves becomes very important.
How to Choose a Secure, Connected Device
So, what should homeowners be looking for when choosing a connected device that is also secure? Start by looking for products with security measures built-in, like Z-Wave. Z-Wave is an open wireless IoT standard, found in over 2,100 certified interoperable products worldwide. This smart home technology implements the highest level of security on all products, from smart locks and sensors to your smart home hub.
It’s important to understand that while the threat of cyberattack is real, it is also highly unlikely that someone will gain access to your home and its devices. You’re still more likely to have someone throw a brick through your front window than try to gain access via your smart home. But the more devices on the market, the easier a target it is for hackers, and it’s important to be prepared.
Mitchell Klein is the executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance and a 20+ year veteran of the CE and smart home industries.