If you walk into Best Buy, Target, or Walmart, you’ll be greeted with dozens of smart home technologies available to any consumer. There are smart outlets, cameras, speakers, the list goes on. You can pretty much automate anything in your house if you really wanted to. All of these devices are supposed to make your overall life easier and better. But how secure are these devices and should you trust these devices that are being connected to your home network. Like everything else you buy that connects to your network, a username and password are usually necessary to manage the configuration of these devices. Most people will either leave the default username and password or they will use the same username and password that they use for important things like their online banking accounts. In this article, we will review what you can do to take a little more control over the safety of your network and your data by practicing some basic common security best practices.
The first thing to do is to make sure you change the default passwords from any of your smart devices. Make sure that the password is not the same as your critical online accounts. Choose something that is strong and secure but easy to remember because you do not really access these devices too much and if you choose an overly complicated password, you will not be able to get back into the device months or years from now. Next, and this is a little more complicated, but monitor your network traffic for any suspicious traffic. Some smart devices send data back to the manufacturer. You want to verify that the data being sent back and forth is not any of your personal data! One easy thing you can do as well is buy from brands that are better known. Most of these brands will at least try and do good by the customer and attempt to protect their data. Their systems may still be susceptible to cyber attacks, but at least they will try to be more honest about it. Cheap knock off brands might not be as transparent with how they handle your data. And finally, make sure you update your devices whenever an update is available. Usually those updates bring security patches that help close up any vulnerabilities found out in the wild. When you patch your system, you can help protect your devices from any known attacks. If you do not update, then an attacker may be able to take advantage of a known vulnerability and compromise your device.
Overall, these devices are great to have around the house. But just be extra cautious of the security behind the devices. These devices are connected to your home network and have the potential to access other computers and data on your network. They can be used against you and your family if you are not careful. It might seem like extra work to have to update passwords and monitor network traffic, but it’s a small price to pay to keep yourself secure. The alternative is to do nothing and hope that an attacker does not discover your devices.