A Smart Home can sometimes bring convenience and security risks at the same time. To be clear, we’re speaking about the WIFI network in your home. A Smart Home is meant to make our lives easier, but the Wi-Fi network that has been installed is a possible entry point for intruders. It’s possible for intruders to ‘break in’ to your smart home devices, and even access personal data if the appropriate measures are not taken by your local Electronics Integrator. Never fear, La Scala’s here!
First of all, La Scala always separates your Smart Home devices and the access to them from your personal computers and related devices. This is a good plan for a number of reasons. One, if La Scala is needed to execute a firmware upgrade; or check to make sure your Smart Home Systems are all functional, or to actually do a repair online, it can do so without disturbing or having to access your private network. Only you can access both networks. Here are some additional recommendations:
1. Keep your Router and Modem Up to Date
Keeping your router and modem up to date is the best way to secure your smart home.
It is highly recommended to download the latest version of firmware updates as the device manufacturer releases them, and make sure you change the default password that comes with both devices. If your device supports OTA auto-update feature, then you can enable that option as well. Always check the user manual or contact the brand engineers before connecting a device.
The following are some simple tips that can help keep the hackers at bay.
- Make sure you don’t use the same username & password combination to access multiple devices.
- Use strong passwords consisting of a combination of letters, numbers, special characters, and symbols (e.g., A7%B2-*”:&@#).
- Keep passwords safe by not using words found in any dictionary or easy-to-guess words (e.g., name of the pet, spouse, date of birth, phone number, etc.
- Ensure not to populate the list of username and passwords on the documents that are not password protected.
To ensure that no one else can access your passwords, use encrypted password management tools such as LastPass. List low security passwords on paper and keep it in a safe but handy place. Hackers can’t see your paper documents.
2. Enable 2FA If Possible
Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for all the accounts that have the feature available, especially your most important ones like email, banking, and social media.
This will require you to enter a code sent to your phone in addition to your password when you log in. It’s an extra step that may seem inconvenient; but it can go a long way toward protecting your data from being compromised if someone gets access to your account credentials. There are many ways hackers could potentially compromise your information; so, make sure the easiest path isn’t right under your nose!
Here is a list of things to do:
- Ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure – If you use Wi-Fi networks at home, make sure they’re secured with strong passwords and encryption, preferably WPA2 or WPA3 standards. Use these types of passwords with your other devices as well. If you need assistance with this, La Scala offers this service.
- Patch any software vulnerabilities – Always install security updates for any software you have installed on all devices connected to the internet immediately after they come out.
- Enable Firewall protection – Install firewalls on all internet-connected devices
- Enable Anti-virus protection – Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
Read more: What does Home Security mean to you?
3. Password-Protect your Private Wi-Fi Network
If you have a Wi-Fi network at home, make sure that it is password-protected. It may sound like overkill, but if someone tries to break into your Wi-Fi network then they will need the password. You can also use MAC address filtering so that only authorized devices can access your home Wi-Fi network. Another option is using an encryption method such as WPA2-PSK (Wired Equivalent Privacy with Pre-Shared Key).
Some routers are preconfigured with these protections in place, so check with your router manufacturer before investing time and money in other security measures.
4. Avoid using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks, such as those at coffee shops or airports, are inherently unsafe and can expose your personal information. If you must use it, use a virtual private network (VPN) service that encrypts the data being exchanged over the Internet. Additionally, don’t access any sites that require login credentials while using public Wi-Fi; this includes bank accounts and email accounts. Consider installing antivirus and malware protection apps on your mobile device(s) if they’re not already installed.
There are many free and subscription-based antivirus apps available in the app store, so there’s no excuse for skipping this important step in protecting your smart home from hackers!
5. Encrypt your Home Network
Securing your network using encryption is one of the simplest ways to improve the security of your smart home network. Encryption means changing the configuration of your router’s wireless signal so that it can’t be accessed without a password.
To do this, you’ll need to put in a unique password for each device on your network and create a password that is difficult to guess.
Once all devices have been set up with passwords, you’ll want to change the default settings for security options like wireless encryption and MAC address filtering. You should also configure your Wi-Fi so it will automatically turn off when you’re away from home or when no one is using it because those are two times when someone could easily hack into your network. (Note: if you’re going to access your home network when away, don’t turn it off). Make sure that any Wi-Fi connection between work or school and your laptop has an encrypted connection as well.
Keep your router updated to the latest version as most brand manufacturers provide firmware updates every few months to patch any bugs they find in the system.
6. Use a lock screen on your smartphone
Make sure the smartphone devices you use have a lock screen. If your phone is lost without a lock screen, the person who finds it will have immediate access to everything on it.
In addition, you must have an option to prevent unauthorized access and wipe out the data from the lost or stolen device, including the information related to your smart home system.
All of the latest phones feature a user manual that instructs users on how to disable or reclaim their stolen phones and protect the data saved in the device.
You must thoroughly read the instructions in the user manual provided with the device or you can go to the company’s website so that if such a problem arises, you can deal with it as soon as possible.
There are several ways to secure your smart home along with your integrated IoT (“internet of things”) devices. La Scala Integrated Media is a company with a team of specialists for integrating automation systems for smart homes and which includes network security specialists to manage any networking system.
They offer a variety of solutions to put your mind at ease by integrating security systems with intuitive touchscreen controls, including floor plans that make it easy to secure the entire home and monitor system status, and more! For more information about their smart home security solutions contact La Scala today!
La Scala has been providing quality services to residential clients since 1989. Being a CEDIA Certified business and offering the finest in installation services, it’s no wonder La Scala is the most trusted and renowned name in Vancouver for Smart Home Automation and Integration.