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6 Tips to protect your smart home devices

Protect your phone and family

Secure and protect your smart home devices. What is a “smart” product? Examples: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink Hub 2, Samsung SmartThings Hub, and more.

Smart products let you: Control household appliances with your phone! The same applies to your security system, if it is in the smart category. So, if you are driving down the road, you can pull over and use your phone to manage home security.

What could go wrong?

Holder's - Secure and protect your smart home devices

What has gone wrong is that some crooks are also smart. As a result, they are using “smart” products to gain entrance.

A few “smart” home products are themselves security breaches. They can be hacked by some guy living in Bulgaria. Or, next door.

The Washington Post reported in 2018 about a hacker who threatened a family. A man’s voice came over a baby monitor and camera in the home of Ellen and Nathan Rigney.

“I’m going to kidnap your baby,” the voice said, Ellen Rigney recalled to news station KPRC. “I’m in your baby’s room.”

That’s terrifying.

The folks who manufacture smart products know smart devices are a benefit. The features are extremely appealing to consumers. On the other hand, our demand for convenience can cause “impulse” purchases.

There are things that you as a homeowner or a business person can do about the risks. Long term; ask for industry standards. Smart products should be tested and secured before they show up on store shelves, right? Short term; you can take steps to stop hackers from using your own electronics against you…

Let’s look at ways you can secure and protect your smart home devices:

Secure and protect your smart devices

Stop the madness!

  1. Read the packaging! Look for information on keeping the device secure. There may be patches or updated software you need to download. If necessary, contact the manufacturer. Contact information should be with the product; otherwise Google.
  2. Ask the store where you bought the smart home device. They have industry information that can help you, or they can find out. Not sure what to ask? Try something like this. “Thank you for the XYZ Smart Gadget. How can I make sure it is secure against tampering via internet?”
  3. Talk to the people you know, and ask them if they found good solutions. Even if they can’t help you, you might end up helping them. Social media could be useful here.
  4. Multi-factor authentication. Sounds fancy; works great. This means both a password and a text-message response are required to access the system.
  5. Try a free password management tool like LastPass (link below). Or, try a pro version for your business. This will let you use “strong” passwords without the hassle of memorizing. Is your smart device still using a default password? Remember that online forums often reveal default passwords and usernames of products. It’s crucial to change those settings after installation.
  6. How old is the smart device? If six months or more, you can check to see if the manufacturer has fixed security loopholes and then upgrade. Or, find a manufacturer with better security.

Related:

Download antivirus software like Trend Micro security or McAfee antivirus. This is to protect computers and phones where you can download such software. This won’t alter smart home devices, but you are at least creating a more safe environment.

Anti-virus companies compete with each other, and are eager to get your business by upping their quality. That’s good for you. Even a free version of well-known security software is a good start.

Password management tools

  1. LastPass
  2. ZOHO Vault
  3. Dashlane

 

“Smart” devices mishaps:

 

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