Smart home automation is the new trend in the digital market. Many house owners hunt for home security solutions, which has triggered the need for IoT (Internet of Things) devices. As these owners welcome these smart gadgets like security cameras, microphones, motion sensors, smart fire alarms, smart security systems, etc., into their homes, they indirectly and unknowingly welcome cyber threats, thus making their homes more insecure.
This convenience comes at a price because these smart gadgets are entry points for attackers, which help them invade your home security and privacy.
Is it a Major Issue?
Yes, since an intruder can cause varied damages by compromising your IoT devices. Let’s find out a few important reasons for securing them.
Why is Cybersecurity for Smart Homes Essential?
- A successful hacker attack on your IoT device can cause leakage of sensitive data.
- If your Wi-Fi is compromised, the hacker can use your network to conduct malicious activities.
- If the hacker successfully penetrates your smart security systems or can halt motion sensors, they can loot your home and cause monetary damage or create other privacy issues.
Several disasters can be caused if IoT security is not taken care of. In a nutshell, investing in IoT devices is insufficient; you also need to invest some time and money to secure the same.
Without further ado, let’s discuss some essential tips that can help secure your smart home.
Tips For Improving IoT Device Security:
Keep your Router Updated:
VPNFilter malware has caused collateral damages in the past by targeting routers. They make them inoperable by surviving reboots and destroying them.
This malware can gain access to your passwords and data, and hence it’s advisable to reset and update your router regularly. If using an old model, go for a recent one and decrease the chances of security breaches.
Rename your router with a complex name for better security.
Enable Encryption Security for Wi-Fi:
Go to the security settings in your router > Change the encryption option to WPA2-PSK or WPA3-SAE, and if the same is missing, upgrade your router’s firmware.
Since hackers love to target home routers, securing your router will indirectly help secure your smart home.
Create a strong, long, and complicated password, which will encrypt your communications and network, thus keeping it safe from prying eyes.
Install the Latest Security Patches:
Ensure that all your IoT devices are updated on a timely basis so that all the latest security patches are installed, and all the endpoints are sealed from intrusions.
This move will secure your smart home from outside interferences, and the security patches will protect your devices from cyber-attacks and other security breaches.
Create a Guest Network:
Guests staying at your place may expect network access and the best way to oblige them is to create a separate guest network for them. Hence, your guests can log in to a separate network detached from your IoT devices.
In this way, even if hackers manage to penetrate, they can’t access your security devices and other necessary IoT devices, like laptops, etc. which can prevent the leakage of sensitive data.
Change Default Passwords:
Change the login credentials and especially passwords for all the IoT devices installed on your network or smart home. Often, users are careless about changing the default admin names or passwords, which may pose a threat in the future.
Implementing a strong password policy by using complex and lengthy passwords and managing them with the help of a password manager can help strengthen your smart home security.
Keep on changing them frequently to prevent mishaps.
Secure your Network Completely:
The same can be done by using the WPA2 protocol. This protocol uses the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) security to authenticate data and ensure data integrity. These minute security measures go a long way in preventing huge data breaches.
Segment your Network:
Always be prepared for the worst when ensuring strong security for your IoT devices.
One way to be safe is to divide your network into varied segments so that each network acts and runs individually. Isolation of networks helps reduce exploits, and the same can be clubbed when the need arises.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) are the best dual security measures that can be implemented on your IoT devices in case of option is available.
These securities ask for a 2nd login via code, PIN or any other number sent on mobile or mail. This additional layer of security secures your system and networks, thus keeping them safe.
Go for a Layered Security Approach:
A layered digital security approach means the security of all the endpoints and with each defence strategy backed up adequately.
The utilization of various monitoring tools like antivirus software and anti-malware software, other intrusion detection tools, network traffic analysis tools, etc., can help detect unknown penetrations and prevent them from further damage.
This layered security approach will help prevent intrusions from all the gateways of your IoT devices.
Refrain using Public Wi-Fi Networks:
Public Wi-Fi networks are unsafe since a hacker may be stationed between you and your IoT device. These unencrypted networks are favourite hackers who carry out MiTM (man-in-middle) attacks, steal data, distribute malware, snoop or sniff into your data and networks.
This is a hotspot for malicious activity, and hence it’s advisable to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for your IoT devices.
Disable the Unnecessary Features:
Smart IoT devices come with great features, of which some may be unnecessary for use. Specific IoT devices can be controlled from many locations.
- Disable unnecessary features and remote accesses.
- Disable Bluetooth connectivity in speakers if not in use.
- Disable the voice commands function in TV and other smart assistants (Alexa) present in your home.
Block all these unnecessary entry points into your network by disabling the required features.
Keep your Devices Up to Date:
Your Wi-Fi router’s firmware and software update of your home IoT devices should be done regularly since these updates carry security patches for strengthening network security.
Some IoT devices don’t have the auto-update feature, so do a manual check on such installed devices and update them. If they prompt you for the same, don’t postpone it for the future, but update it instantly.
Use Biometric Authentication if Possible:
Some IoT devices permit biometric authentication, which helps identify and verify individuals based on physical or behavioural patterns.
Example: A fingerprint can be used to gain access to the IoT device, which can nullify unauthorized access.
Secure your IoT Network With SSL/TLS Certificate:
SSL (Secure Socket Layers)/TLS (Transport Layers Security) certificates use asymmetric encryption to secure the data communication between two devices, making penetration a challenging task for hackers. SSL certificate types are available at discounted price starting from single domain to cheap wildcard SSL certificate, multi domain and many more.
Audit your IoT Devices:
Regular audits of your IoT devices will help enhance their security and avoid data breaches about private data. IoT devices audit includes assets that is attached to business operations. The audit includes IT general controls like physical and environmental security, logical security, incident management, data backup and recovery, information security, etc.
Keep an Eye on Outages:
Don’t rule out the possibility of a hardware outage, which can instantly make your home unsecured by causing damages to your application program and networks.
IoT devices make your life comfortable and your home smarter. But if you fall out on the security aspect of these devices, they may cause significant damage.
Secure them precisely, keep them updated and monitor them regularly for better security. Follow a strong password policy. You can also hire IoT app developers who can help build a robust security system for your home.