Smart home technology: How to avoid getting hacked

Smart home technology: How to avoid getting hacked

These days, you don’t only have to worry about getting your computer, your email or your social media hacked. Increasingly, everything in your life will be hooked up to the internet, including your electric and water meters, your fridge, your TV and your thermostat. All of these “smart” appliances make life easier, but they also are connected to an internet system that can be hacked.

Require passwords for Wi-Fi
Even a password-protected Wi-Fi network can be hacked, but one that requires no code is particularly vulnerable. Even if you live in a relatively isolated area and you’re not worried about neighbors mooching off your Wi-Fi, you should always use a password. And make sure it’s a good one! Nothing simple.

Don’t include personal info in Wi-Fi network name
Not only is the password important, but the name you give your network can also tip hackers off to personal information they can use to guess your passwords or trick you into clicking on emails or social media links infected with viruses. So don’t name your network after yourself, your dog or your favorite team. You should preferably give it a name that means nothing at all.

Regularly update your firmware
On any smart device –– your computer, phone, TV –– you should make sure to regularly update your firmware. Those annoying notifications that pop up and tell you to update? Pay attention to them! They not only ensure that your device will run better, but they update the security measures to protect against the latest viruses and hacking techniques.

Firewall + Malware Scanner
Download a decent firewall to protect your network from cyber attacks. Many systems include a firewall as well as a virus and malware scanner. You should regularly perform a deep scan of your computer for viruses.

Avoid public Wi-Fi as much as possible
There are pros and cons to connecting to a public Wi-Fi network when you’re using your tablet or laptop, such as at a coffee shop or other public place. The benefit is that you don’t have to use data from your device. The drawback is that it is much less secure. Avoid doing anything sensitive on public Wi-Fi  –– stay away from online banking or making purchases that require entering credit card information.

Keep your phone safe
If you have a bunch of smart devices in your home that are hooked up to your smartphone, then you need to be sure to keep your phone as secure as possible. It should be password-protected and you should download an app that will allow you to find your phone in case you lose it.

Unified Threat Management
If you have a house with a large number of smart appliances, experts recommend buying a unified threat management appliance that serves as a firewall for the entire network. This is highly recommended for your office, and wherever an infiltration could prove devastating. Those on the cheaper side will still run a few hundred bucks, but it’s likely a worthy long-term investment.

Do you have any good tips on protecting your home’s smart devices from hackers? Share them in the comments section below or tell us on Facebook or Twitter!


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