How startled would you be if a male voice started talking to you through your baby monitor? It would freak you out, just like it did an Illinois couple in 2018. Their smart home had been hacked. The hacker not only spoke to them, but he was also watching them through their in-house cameras. He also turned their thermostat up to 90 degrees.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Digital devices offer great convenience, but they have vulnerabilities, just like computers do. On the plus side, hackers are less likely to target your home system than an extensive database with valuable information.
Regardless of the level of risk, protecting your privacy and in-home network can and should be done. Here are some ways to add more security to your digital home.
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Your Wi-Fi network is what connects all your devices to each other and the internet. Protecting your personal network is the most crucial step in securing your home from hackers. There are several ways to make your Wi-Fi network more secure.
- Change the default network name and password assigned to your router. The manufacturer of the router should have supplied instructions on how to do that. Don't use identifying information like your last name for your network, or passwords that are easy to guess.
- Most routers also provide an option for hiding your network, so devices don't automatically find it. Instead, users need to know the name of the network to log in.
- Generally, you also have the option to set up multiple networks within your home through one router. Putting your devices on different networks limits the access of a hacker. For instance, access to the appliance network would not provide access to your security system or computer. A separate, limited network for guests is always a good idea.
Register Your Smart Devices and Have Them Professionally Installed
Registering smart devices and appliances is very important. Just like your computer, the software in your appliances will require updates as security vulnerabilities are discovered. Having them registered will ensure you are alerted to new software security updates.
If all this information seems a bit overwhelming, you're not alone. You buy smart technology for convenience. None of this sounds convenient. Instead of trying to do all this yourself, hire professionals to install your devices and smart appliances. A trained professional can usually set up multiple networks on your Wi-Fi faster than you can read the directions to do so.
Simple Security Solutions: Unplug and Factory Reset
If your digital device has no power to it, no hacker can access it. When you’re going to be away from home for an extended period, unplug those devices which are not critical, like smart speakers, smart TV, etc. This will at least limit what a hacker can access.
If you are selling or getting rid of a smart device, it is imperative to remove personal data and do a factory reset. You don't know who might gain access to that device once it leaves your possession. Don't send personal information into unknown hands.