12 Ways to Secure Your Smart Home and IoT Devices

Feb 12, 2020Blog

Do you have a (smart) house full of connected devices? Awesome! Unless they are not protected and left vulnerable to attacks. That is not awesome. Unfortunately, just by having smart home devices and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, you are left vulnerable. Protecting yourself takes some effort, but the good news is that it is manageable.

Keep reading for 12 quick tips on how to secure your smart home and IoT devices. But first, let’s cover the basics on why your devices are vulnerable in the first place:

Why smart devices are vulnerable in the first place

By default, smart devices are vulnerable, which means that you, your home and your privacy are left vulnerable to attacks. Why is this the case? Many IoT device makers do not prioritize security as a built-in feature for these connected devices. This means that for hackers they are easy to target.

So, it is up to you to make sure that all of your IoT devices are secured in order to keep your smart home from being vulnerable to attacks. And unless you can manage every single connected device, from your smart watch to your smart fridge to your smart light bulbs, then you are living amongst many channels for cybercriminals to attack.

The good news is that there are ways that you can make sure that your smart home is secured.

Build a more secure smart home

Optim Managed WiFi solution is a great option to resolve any home network problems. With this cloud-based platform you get an intuitive dashboard that helps you manage all of the devices connected to your network, which is perfect for smart homes and IoT connected device owners.

Optim also helps you to enhance your network security, and troubleshoot any issues right away whether you do them by yourself or with a professional. Professionals can fix issues remotely, too, which greatly reduces your need for long tech support calls.

Other pros about an integrated network management system like Optim are:

  • Easy to set up and you don’t have to deal with any hardware
  • Improve your home network performance
  • Self-healing network intelligence
  • Self-serve troubleshooting and network management
  • Security protection for your entire home network (no software to download or update)
  • Providing full visibility across your entire network
  • Optimizing your WiFi’s performance using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology

Subscribing to a management platform like Optim is the ultimate way to manage, secure and take control of your network. However, there are other things you can also do to make sure that your network and devices are as secure as possible. 

12 other tips to follow to secure your smart home:

  1. Securely name your router – Give your router a unique name other than the one provided by the manufacturer. Not changing the name can help cyber attackers to identify the make or model, which makes it easier to hack into.
  2. Change default usernames and passwords – Likewise, make sure that you change your usernames and passwords. Cybercriminals can easily guess the manufacturer provided ones (if they don’t know them already). By not changing them, you make it easy for attackers to access all of your IoT devices.
  3. Make sure all passwords are strong and unique – Don’t just change them to something easy to guess, though. Avoid using any information that might lead people to know your identity, your address or anything else that is personal information. It’s a great idea to use a randomized password generator to come up with strong and unique passwords that are tough to guess.
  4. Encrypt your WiFi – In your router settings you can encrypt your WiFi network. Use a strong encryption method, like WPA2. This helps to makes sure that your network and communications are secure.
  5. Set up a guest network – It doesn’t matter if you trust your family and friends, if they are “outsiders” coming into your home and connecting to your WiFi, make sure they are connecting to a guest account. Anyone outside of your home network can purposefully or accidentally bring in a channel of attack. It’s not worth the risk. Setting up a guest network for others keeps all of your IoT devices protected on your private WiFi account.
  6. Check device settings – Right out of the box, IoT devices come with privacy and security settings that could benefit the manufacturer more than they benefit you. Make it a habit to check these settings and adjust them to service your privacy and safety.
  7. Disable connected features you don’t use or need – If you are not using a connected feature on an IoT device, disable it. This helps take away another channel that an attacker could use to break into your network.
  8. Always update your software – Manufacturers release regular security patches for a reason. Make sure to always updated your devices when an update is available.
  9. Take inventory of all of your IoT devices – Knowing all of the devices connected to your network will help you identify if any unwanted visitors are on your network. You can manually take inventory of all of the IoT devices, or you can let a network management system like Optim (mentioned above) to do all of the grunt work for you.
  10. Two-step authentication – This goes beyond just strong passwords. Two-step authentication can be as simple as sending a one-time security code to your smartphone or other device to identify yourself as a trusted user. If your smart-device apps offer two-factor authentication, or 2FA, to keep the bad guys out, use it.
  11. Stay off of public WiFi – If you can help it, avoid using your IoT devices on public WiFi networks. They are generally not secure and easy for cybercriminals to get to your private information. If you need to use public WiFi, use a virtual private network (VPN) to stay safe.
  12. Be aware of outages – Lastly, hardware power outages can result in your devices defaulting to an unsecure state. Be aware of this.

Want more tips on how to secure your smart home and home network? Stay in-the-know by following Actiontec’s featured Industry Articles and the Actiontec blog.

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