You no longer have to be a technical wizard to monitor or control your lighting, heating or security alarms from a home automation app.
You can use your smart TV or audio system for interactive entertainment and communication. Keep an eye on your sleeping children from your smartphone. Some refrigerators even enable you to manage food monitoring and ordering. An increasing number of your children’s toys can be connected to your Wi-Fi too. And voice-controlled digital assistants have become very popular.
The connected home is a very convenient and cool place to live, but it can have drawbacks when it comes to your and your family’s security. Like your computer, smartphone or tablet, every device that’s connected to your Wi-Fi is also transmitting data which could be of interest to criminals. Having your burglar alarms, cameras, door locks and security lighting disabled, malware installed on your network are all possibilities. It has also been known for babysitting cameras and kids’ smart toys to be hacked, via their accompanying apps and your Wi-Fi.
Data could also be used by companies to exploit your connected home devices to target you in their marketing campaigns. If you already know about how careful use of passwords and updating software can protect you on your computer and mobile devices, you’re half way to protecting your connected home too.
A few simple steps to protect your connected home
- For devices for which you need a password (as well as your Wi-Fi password) to connect, replace factory-set passwords with secure ones you create yourself. This is because a lot of default administrator passwords are common to every device shipped, and potentially insecure. If in doubt, check manufacturers’ instructions on how to change passwords.
- Don’t use the same password for more than one connected device, nor share passwords with those you already use for other online accounts.
- Make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, see our advice page on Wireless Networks & Hotspots at getsafeonline.org
- Make sure that all your computers and mobile devices are fi tted with updated internet security software /app, and also that access to these devices is protected with a PIN or passcode.
- Check the apps associated with your connected devices and install updates as soon as prompted. Also, regularly check manufacturers’ websites for updates, as they can be slow to push them out via their apps.
- If you can, disable remote-management access and other powerful network tools if they won’t be used.
- Consider that buying well-known, reputable brands means that more care has probably been taken in securing the products – and your and your family’s security.
For everything you need to know about securing your connected home, please see getsafeonline.org/connectedhome