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Best way to protect your smart home system (updated for 2018)

Luis Pinto, Head of Content

Learn four simple tricks to protect yourself from home automation hackers in 2018

According to Gartner, more than 11 billion smart home devices will be in use in 2018 and up to 20.4 billion in 2020. What does this mean? That everyone (including you) will have at least one smart home device in the following five years.

As the number of smart devices increase, so does the concern about the security of our smart homes. Fortunately, we are getting used to writing longer passwords and setting security patterns on our phones. But we still have some leaks we need to solve.

Before getting into our home we pick up the key from our pocket (we try to never lose it), then we turn the key and we open the door. After that, we get in and we never forget to close the door. We don’t lose the key (well... it can happen), give it to anybody we don't trust or let them get into the house if we aren't there and we don’t know them, right?

I want you to imagine that the key is your WiFi password, that the lock is your network and that opening the door is giving access to your smart home devices. Why would you give your home key to someone you don’t know? Why would we allow unknown people to access our WiFi network when we have smart home devices that could be vulnerable?

The truth is smart homes are no more or less secure than regular homes. But we can make our homes safer with this four simple tricks:

Increase your smart home security following this 4 practical tips

Use a VPN

Our first advice is not to expose anything directly to the Internet if possible. To do such thing we recommend using a VPN to access the Internet. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which allows users – whether they are individuals, or part of an organization, or business – to send and receive data while maintaining the secrecy of a private network.

Here is a list made by TechRadar on the best VPN services out there.

WiFi Security

I can't stress it enough. You should be careful of giving the WiFi password to people you don’t know. In the same manner as we don’t allow unknown people to enter our home, don’t let them get into your WiFi network.

One cool trick you can do if you invite people to come to your home is to create a dedicated network for your Smart Home devices and another one for you and your guests. This way they can’t get access to your smart devices. And don’t forget to change your Wi-Fi password afterward! We recommend using WPA2 as it offers the strongest security.

The Internet is not your enemy

Don’t be afraid to connect to the internet but also, don’t be naïve about it. Know the risks and the benefits. Connecting your devices to the internet will let you control your house even if you are not there. You won’t worry anymore about if you forgot to turn off the lights or not. But remember, use only your private net for your smart devices and use trusted apps to control them, such as the official app for each brand or Yeti, if you own different brands.

Update your smart devices' firmware

There are a lot of people that don’t like to upload their devices firmware since they think it is a waste of time and will make their gadget slow. They couldn’t be more wrong! It is strongly recommended to update your devices regularly because if there is any breach or exploit in the firmware security, developers will fix it through an update, leaving us exposed if we don’t do it.

Change default passwords

Our last, but not least important trick is the easiest one to do. Change your password! Most smart devices have a preset password by default. Hackers know this and will use it to gain easy access to smart device accounts. If a hacker wants to break through your security, he/she will probably be able to do it, but at least you should make it difficult for him/her. Is the same as with a traditional burglar, the least we can don’t leave the key at the door.

It’s true we can’t be completely safe but we can always improve the way we manage the smart home security. I hope you found it interesting and let us know if you have any other trick related to security!

Image credits: cruschiform

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