Secure Home Networking: A Smart Home Essential
“Who doesn’t want to wake up to an 80-degree home in the middle of June?” This Amazon product reviewer asks, painting a humorous picture of the risks presented when outsiders gain access to your smart home.
Though interactive home solutions provide conveniences, such as remote temperature adjustment or camera monitoring, they also present financial and safety risks if controlled by the wrong source.
Your smart home relies, in part, on the dependability of your Wi-Fi network. If your home’s router or Internet connection is left unsecure or is compromised, smart home capabilities may become vulnerable.
Follow the step-by-step guide below to ensure your Wi-Fi network and home are secure:
Part 1: Network Set Up
Start with the setup process to ensure your Wi-Fi is locked down and enable firewall software for added protection. First, request your router be installed in the center of your home. This keeps your Wi-Fi network evenly centralized throughout your household and weakens the network connection outside.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) simply “turning on your wireless router’s encryption setting can go a long way toward securing your network.” Encryption technology scrambles content sent wirelessly so it cannot be easily deciphered. Shortly after your Internet has been installed, double check that encryption has been switched on; the most reliable option is WPA2.
A default name, or service set identifier (SSID), and IP password will be provided with your router. Pre-set passwords and names are often widely known and, therefore, are simple to crack. Change the SSID and router password once your Internet is installed. A long and complicated strand of numbers and symbols is recommended to increase password security.
As an overall best practice, you should always change default passwords provided with any new device. An article from Network World demonstrated the risks associated with default passwords when the author discovered a site hosting 73,011 unsecured security cameras in 256 countries, many of which were in private family households.
Depending on your configuration and supplier, your router IP password could be different from the password you will regularly use to enter your Wi-Fi network. Therefore, you should ensure that your Wi-Fi network password is unique from your router password and difficult to break. For examples of passwords not to use, check out the most popular passwords of 2014.
Part 2: Wi-Fi Safety Smarts
There are a handful of practices you can follow to ensure your Wi-Fi is used safely on a consistent basis. Here are some of the most common suggestions:
- Update passwords regularly (about every three months) and provide visitors with a separate guest Wi-Fi password.
- Keep in mind that open Wi-Fi networks, such as those at coffee shops, are not necessarily secure and could make your devices vulnerable to attacks.
- Invest in reliable antivirus, anti-spyware and firewall software to provide devices with an additional layer of protection against outside access.
- Visit and download content only from secure websites and only open emails from sources that you know and trust. Hackers can often gain access to your network and devices through unsolicited, or phishing, links in this way.
- Reach out to your router manufacturer or wireless Internet provider if you are concerned about the vulnerability of your home Internet network at any time.
How do you keep your smart home safe from hackers? Share your tips with us in the comments below!
Image Source: Dana Spiegel