16 Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers in 2023

Here are some tips to make your smart home secure and protect your smart home from hackers. Smart home devices are convenient and make life easier, but they are not always as safe as you think.

Cybercriminals can access all the connected devices, and data can be compromised. As a result, the network is the IoT network's weakest link. Despite these, each connected appliance in your home is prone to higher risks. Hackers leverage platforms such as Shodan and Mirari botnet to scan firmware vulnerabilities of smart devices available in the market and moreover:

  1. Cybercriminals can steal or use your data for personal benefit by hacking your routers. 
  2. Hackers can harness the power of your IoT devices for personal use.
  3. Cybercriminals can infiltrate IoT devices to harm you.  

There are already stories of cybercriminals hacking security systems and CCTVs. It means the risk assessment increases with each connected device in the IoT network. Thus, IoT app development companies assert that security provisions are essential in smart home automation.

Smart IoT devices are a thing of the future. People are continuously moving towards a more innovative end with devices you can control with your voice, so you won’t have to do an action for switching off the light, turning on the speaker, or locking your door. The list continues, but how can you protect your smart home from hackers?

Quick Tips to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers

Cybercriminals will use the tools and tricks to hack into smart home systems as smart home technology advances. Before you consider unplugging any of your devices, think of what you can do to add an extra layer of security to keep the hackers out to protect your smart home from hackers.

Quick Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
Extra Layer of Security – Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Smart homes offer convenience and security risks. Here is what you can do to stop hackers from taking control of your smart speaker, thermostat, doorbell, and other connected devices to protect your smart home from hackers.

  • Replace outdated routers: An old router means vulnerable security protocols and a more accessible access point for hackers.
  • Update firmware: Firmware is the low-level software that powers your router and other Internet-related things. Configure your device to automatically update or set a reminder to check for updates regularly.
  • Create a secure Wi-Fi network: Purchase a router from a reputable brand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to change the network's name and default password.
  • Unplug devices that are not in use: When you go out, unplug any appliances that won’t be active. Not only will it save on your energy bill, but it will also make them inaccessible to hackers.
  • Always stick with reputable brands: Most security experts agree that picking smart devices from established brands is best. It means they employ better security measures when designing their products.

Look at the simple diagram below, which will give you an idea of the smart home system works. Here you can see the smartphone with the user interface is connected to devices using the internet cloud that uses numerous technologies like machine learning, IoT analytics, and big data.

Tips to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers in Diagram
Tips to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers – Source: smlease

Technically advanced gadgets and appliances do not guarantee complete safety and security.

NOTE: Tech expert George Passidakis from Apex Technology Management in Redding states hackers can get into your system and access it via the internet wifi and router.

How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

As such gadgets get integrated into our home systems, there is a high potential for home security susceptibilities and worries. Hence you should follow specific home security tips and ideas for protecting your home.

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Keeping Your Smart Home Safe from Risk:

We don’t suggest you stop using your smart home devices altogether. With some caution, you can still enjoy their convenience and efficiency, and you only need to treat your smart home system as a computer.

Here’s how:

  • Don’t opt for the cheapest devices, as they are easy targets for hackers.
  • Configure each device individually by customizing its security settings.
  • Set up strong passwords and change them at least every two months.
  • Update your devices regularly as soon as there’s a new patch available.
  • If there are devices that you’re not using every day, keep them unplugged.
  • If you’re using a smartphone app as a dashboard, install a mobile VPN.

The worst you can do is connect a new device and start using it as-is without any customization or maintenance. You wouldn’t do that with your computer. No, you would first set up a new password and download a reliable firewall and antivirus software.

A virtual private network (VPN) is another brilliant solution against hacking.

Use a VPN - Tips to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers
Use a VPN – Tips to Protect Your Smart Home from Hackers

It masks your IP address so no one can track your online activity, gain access to your system, steal your data, and locate your location. Use it to encrypt your computer data, and you can also get a mobile VPN version to protect your smart home apps.

Why You Have to Be Careful?

While convenience is a significant perk for smart homes, the other side is the security breaches that steal your privacy. For example, if you have a smart camera that continuously monitors your house, it can also upload the footage to a hackable server. So how to protect your smart home from hackers?

Best Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
Be Careful – How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Hackers can steal your information first, and the rest is in their hands regarding what to do with the information they have about you.

Depending on the device, the vulnerability rate can be pretty low (or relatively high). The chart below shows the percentage of common device categories that have vulnerabilities.

Device Vulnerability Rate Chart
Device Vulnerability Rate Chart – Source: Avast

So what can you do to secure your smart home? Here are some tips to protect your smart home from hackers.

Use Different Passwords for Every Account

A fundamental principle for protecting your smart home from hackers is to use a unique password for each device you have, as we all know, smart products connected to the software. While having a similar password for each account could be convenient, you could compare it to an individual serving the data on a plate to the hacker.

Any good security expert can tell you that creating a unique, multi-character password is crucial in locking your data from cybercriminals.

Different Passwords for Every Account
Different Passwords for Every Account

Here are our tips for creating a solid password:

  • Create a password with a minimum of 16 characters
  • Include two or more symbols (e.g., @#$%)
  • Include two or more numbers (e.g., 123456)
  • Exclude ambiguous characters ( { } [ ] ( ) / \ ‘ ” ` ~ , ; : . < > )
  • Create a substantial password that memory can recall using a mnemonic device

you need to use for protecting your smart devices with smart passwords. As we all know, it will connect most smart devices to your device, like your smartphone. 

But every Smart device requires a setup and login. Use a strong password when you set up each smart device through your phone. Using a similar password for all or using a password as easy as your birthdate will only invite hackers to your device. 

It would be best to use a separate password for all your smart devices to avoid weak passwords. If you’re afraid to forget them, you can permanently save all the credentials in a password manager.

Anti-Virus Protection

Plenty of excellent antivirus software, including some robust free options, is on the market. Unfortunately, most smart home devices lack the computing power to run dedicated antivirus software.

But antivirus protection works excellently for your tablets, laptops, and PCs to protect your smart home from hackers. While not precisely smart home devices, they are still part of the same network and could provide as much or more access to your private information and accounts.

IMPORTANT: Don’t just go for the free trial versions. Please research which antivirus applications are the best and purchase their premium version.

Antivirus software is essential to protect your smart home from hackers and your home systems from malware that could lead to stolen data, financial information, and other potential threats.

Use a Separate Email

When in doubt of cyberattacks, use separate emails for most accounts. When setting up Smart Home devices, use a different email address than your email address. 

It would ensure that if your email id ever gets hacked, your Smart Home devices would remain safe and vice versa. If your Smart Home devices ever get breached, your email id and accounts connected will stay completely secure.

Wi-Fi Security is Must

Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
Wi-Fi Security – How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Securing your WiFi router is another essential tip to protect your smart home from hackers. Most smart devices link together to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone.

Make your wifi password stronger with a number or maybe some special characters. To protect your smart home from hackers, it should not be easily guessable or related to you in any way, not your phone number.

Enable Two Factor Authentication 

Two Factor Authentication is adding an extra layer of security to your account besides the password you already have to protect your smart home from hackers. With Two Factor Authentication, you will always get an OTP on the mobile number you must put in before logging in to your account. While many services might not have the functionality, you should enable it wherever possible.

Firewalls for Security

Firewalls act as antivirus for the network. Only authorized users can access the network with the firewall enabled, making it harder for hackers to break into your network.

Avoid Spammy Websites

Whenever you’re downloading data from websites or torrents, ensure that the data is 100% safe and free of viruses or other programs that can hack your computer. Ideally, you should only download data from trusted websites and torrents.

If you feel a website looks suspicious, don’t use it the next time. Furthermore, you can block pop-ups on your computer to prevent websites from automatically downloading data.

What About Guest Mode

Most smart routers have the option to enable guest mode. With guest mode, you can control which guests have access to content. You can even set the bandwidth and data limit the guest will use.

Keep an Eye on App Permissions 

Easy Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
App Permissions – How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

A smart home app always asks you for permissions on your phone regarding what it can access. You should look into what the app is accessing and disable those permissions that make you suspicious, or don't use things to protect your smart home from hackers.

Keep Your Smartphone Safe

Make sure your devices are safely locked. If your phone gets stolen, you must have some way of blocking and removing all data, including your innovative home system information.

Most modern phones come with a guide that teaches them how to block their lost phones or even recover them. Read instructions on your phone so that if any such scenario occurs, you’ll be well-equipped to deal with it as soon as possible.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi for Remote Access

Public Wi-Fi networks are insecure because hackers can monitor unencrypted traffic and send out malware. All online activity is vulnerable, including when you control smart home devices.

If you must use an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your data so watching eyes can’t read it.

Always Choose Wisely 

Ways to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers
Choose Good Brands – How to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Choose smart home devices wisely to protect your smart home from hackers. Buying smart home devices from well-known brands with a good market reputation would be best.

Even if a product from a well-known brand is expensive, the company guarantees that your privacy comes first.

Tips to Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Cheaper products always attract customers, but lower prices mean zero privacy.

Don’t Plugin Unknown Devices on Your PC

Stay away from unknown devices. Never plug in unknown devices onto your computer or laptop. It includes all kinds of external storage devices too.

Hackers may leave their storage devices around your house or in your path, but beware and don’t plug them in because they can use these devices to hack into your computer.

Keep Your Devices Up to Date

Well, this might sound irrelevant to you, but it is crucial. Outdated operating systems and applications become highly vulnerable to hacks, which is the right moment for hackers to enter your device and do their deeds.

Keeping your devices updated with the latest software version is one of the most important things to remember because brands often release new security patches with the latest code to prevent hackers from hacking your devices.

It would help if you kept all your devices completely up-to-date. Every time there is an update request, click yes without ignoring it. The time the update takes is only beneficial for your future.

Update all your laptops, phones, computers, etc., to protect you from data breaches.

FAQs About Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

  1. How to secure your smart home devices?

    Give your router a unique name. Always use a robust encryption method for Wi-Fi. Change default usernames and passwords. Set up a guest network. Use strong, unique passwords for Wi-Fi networks and device accounts. Disable features you may not need.

  2. How do we protect IoT devices from hackers?

    Protect yourself against cybersecurity attacks. Ensure your product has no exposed ports or connectors. Implement locks or other ways to ensure that only authorized people can get access to your product.

  3. Should IoT devices be on the guest network?

    If you want to put your smart home devices on a guest network, that’s fine, but it may not add much more security. It’s better to install a router that supports VLANs, or Virtual LANs, for your smart home devices. 

Final Words: Protect Your Smart Home From Hackers

Most smart devices feature an option in their settings to automatically update when not in use. Turn on this setting to keep your software current to protect your smart home from hackers. It ensures that it will fix potential vulnerabilities as soon as detected.

Pressure has continuously been mounting on manufacturers to employ stringent security practices. However, companies should enforce more tough security measures. It also starts with you and how you manage your system. You must be very proactive and take all the necessary steps to safeguard your smart home.

How comfortable are you with the connected devices you have in your home? Do you feel like they’re a privacy risk, or do you feel secure with them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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