Hacking a home automation system is more common that we would like to think—and the results of a hack can severely affect your privacy and safety in the home. That’s why keeping your systems safe is an essential part of owning home automation products.
Kaitlin Krull | Modernize
If you’re a tech-savvy homeowner, you’re probably already familiar with the growing number of home automation products on the market today. From security cameras and automatic door locks to lighting systems and your home’s hvac unit, there is a gadget for virtually everyone’s needs. However, safety is one of the most overlooked aspects of home automation—and a shockingly high number of consumers take few or no measures to protect, encrypt, or secure their smart devices. Hacking a home automation system is more common that we would like to think—and the results of a hack can severely affect your privacy and safety in the home. That’s why keeping your systems safe is an essential part of owning home automation products. Here are some of our tips to help you secure your home automation system and avoid system hacks.
Think carefully about your passwords
While most of us already know that a weak password can leave our devices vulnerable to hackers, it can be easy to overlook home automation products and programs. Taking steps to create secure passwords can drastically reduce any hacking risks, so we recommend following these safety measures when choosing a password for your smart gadgets:
Follow password recommendations by using both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
Always change programs’ default passwords to something you and only you will remember
Select different passwords for your various accounts and devices—keep a coded list somewhere safe to help you remind yourself
Change your passwords at least every six months
These rules apply both to your wireless Internet routers, as well as to any programs you use to access home automation devices and products.
Update your devices and programs
If you own a smartphone, computer, or tablet, you know that program and operating systems occasionally require updates. For example, both iOS and Android apps have frequent updates that fix bugs, streamline services, and increase security features. This also applies to home automation products and programs. It is therefore recommended that you update your programs as soon as possible when updates become available. The same also goes for your router and smart devices. Updating hardware and firmware regularly will help keep your system safe and secure. Ask your internet provider about a free or cheap upgrade so you can receive the best and safest service possible for your products.
Keep your network secure
Updates to hardware/operating systems and strong passwords go a long way toward protecting your home automation products from hackers, but there are other steps you can take to further secure your home’s IoT based systems. If you have more than a few home automation devices, or if you work from home, set up separate networks for your phone and computer use, smart technology use, and any guests you may have staying in your home. This will further complicate the possibility of a hacker getting through the security systems you already have in place.
Regardless of the number of networks that you choose to use, you’ll want to make sure that your router is secure. You can do this by looking up different companies’ security ratings ahead of time and doing your research (sometimes the cheapest available option is not the safest). You can make any or all of your WiFi networks invisible—or hidden from searches—to add extra protection to your accounts. Finally, choosing a secure password that you change regularly will make all the difference to your network (we’ve said it before, but it really does bear repeating).
After you’ve put these security measures in place to protect your home automation devices, you might think that your home is as safe as it possibly can be. However, constant attention is an absolute must when it comes to system safety, so we recommend that you keep an eye on your Internet usage—including browser history, access IPs, and energy bills—and flag any unusual activity as soon as it comes up. It’s also a wise idea to look out for any news articles or press releases about security breaches in the home automation sector and/or your local area. If you have any questions or worries about the safety of your home automation products, you can always ask a professional. IT staff at most major brands and Internet providers will be able to give you sound and current advice about your online safety and the safety of your home.
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