In this article, we are going to talk about password best practices for all smart devices you have in your home.
We all have them at home, whether they be smart light bulbs, smart cameras, smart voice assistants, smart fridges, smart whatever you can think of. . . these technologies are making it into homes across the world.
They make our lives easier and it’s neat that the technology we dreamed about 50 years ago is slowly trickling into our every day lives.
These devices are great. I can’t deny it since I have my fair share of devices at home and use them on a daily basis.
But are they safe? What risks are you accepting by having these devices in your home? Let’s talk about that today. I’ll be covering 5 basic things you should be doing to protect yourself and your devices. All references will be linked at the bottom
#1 Default Password
All those smart devices in your home connect to your network and use an account to facilitate management of the device. If you aren’t changing the default password, or if you are using the same username and password for each device, then keep reading.
Pick a strong password. If you haven’t read my article on password attacks, I highly recommend you give it a read. There we cover 8 of the common password attacks and how you can build a password that is somewhat safer than the advertised typical password.
Once you have your strong password, make it unique to each device. I know this will make it hard to remember, but if you get creative enough, you should be fine.
#2 Different accounts
After you’ve changed your default password with a stronger and more secure password change the default user name. If the username is admin and you have a super strong password, you are still at risk. Change your default username to something unique to each device. Again, this might make things a little more challenging for your memory, but get creative with your naming conventions. Consider using a password management tool to help you store this super critical information. I’ll be posting an article in the future about password managers, but off the top of my head, I highly recommend lastpass or 1password.
Let’s face it. . . almost everything we buy for our home is made in China. But some manufacturers at least try to protect their consumers. Buy devices from reputable brands. These brands are more likely to be held accountable when things go south. Whenever there’s a data breach or some sort of security infraction, they’ll most likely try to help the consumer out. Avoid brands that aren’t recognizable. You don’t know what their ethical standards are and you don’t know what they are doing with their devices.
Some things to consider here. Their devices could be sending data back to a remote server. They could be capturing your passwords and selling them. (Even more reason to use unique passwords and user names on each device). They could be faulty and cause a fire in your house. They could be unreliable and cause you headaches because they don’t work well.
#4 2 Factor Authentication
Security by layers. If you haven’t read my previous article on 2 Factor Authentication, go give that article a read. In a nutshell, make it harder for the bad guy to get into your devices. By enabling 2FA, the attacker has to work a little extra harder to get in. You’ll also be notified when someone attempts to log into your account or change your password because the send authentication will be triggered which is usually some sort of text or email that gets sent to you.
#5 App Permissions
And finally, check your app permissions. You go through all the trouble to secure your devices from the outside, world, you should be making sure that your app isn’t sending unwanted data out. Each app you install on your phone is going to request different things. It’s up to the manufacturer to decide what they do with your data. Make sure you review those terms and disable anything you don’t feel comfortable with.
Well that wraps up this article for today.
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Hopefully I didn’t scare you too much. These devices are great. They help us do things that are usually boring or mundane. They are getting better every year. Just be careful and use some of the tips I provided today to keep yourself and your family safe!
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