How to Ensure Hackers Can’t Use Your Smart Devices Against You

How to Ensure Hackers Can't Use Your Smart Devices Against You

When you purchase a new Ring doorbell or other home security camera, you’re doing it so you can keep an eye on your property and loved ones, not to invite a hacker into your home to spy on you.

One family’s horror story about a hacker speaking to their 8-year old daughter through a newly installed Ring camera is a reminder of the importance of security when it comes to new internet access points being added to your home or office.

From Nest thermostats to Amazon Echo voice assistants to home theater systems, smart home automation is becoming the new normal for many Americans. While it’s exciting to explore the convenience that smart gadgets can provide, security is often overlooked with DIY setups of that technology.

Between 2018 and 2023, the number of smart home households is expected to jump from 34.8 million to 70.6 million.

Any device with an internet connection, whether it’s a computer, Fitbit, or a smart refrigerator, is susceptible to being breached by a hacker. That’s why device security is so important, especially as the number of smart gadgets per household continues to rise every year.

Tips for Securing Your Smart Home Gadgets

Unfortunately, the hacking of smart devices is becoming more common. So much in fact that it’s been given a name, “digital home invasion.”

Another hacking story is about a Chicago family who noticed strange voices coming from their baby’s room and their thermostat suddenly jumping from 72 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Their Nest security cameras and thermostat had been hacked.

The tips below will help your family avoid becoming the next digital home invasion story and allow you to enjoy your smart home automation with peace of mind.

Secure Your Router

Your router can act as an entry point to all the devices in your home that are connecting to its Wi-Fi signal, so it’s important to protect it from being compromised.

Ways to secure your wireless router include:

  • Change the router name to one that doesn’t identify the make/model or your physical address or family name.
  • Use a strong password on your router.
  • Ensure it uses either WPA2 or WPA3 security.
  • Set up a guest Wi-Fi rather than giving out the password to your main Wi-Fi.

Change Device Usernames/Passwords

When setting up any type of smart device, you want to immediately change the default manufacturer username and password. These are meant just to help you set up your gadget but are not meant to be used as the login after setup.

Hackers have published lists that include 515,000 default IoT device passwords. 

Hackers have lists of IoT device default passwords and circulate them widely.

Disable Unneeded Features

You won’t always need a sharing or remote login feature that may come with your smart device, but these features that make hacking easier are often defaulted to being on.

Take the time to go through your device’s features and settings and get the help of an IT pro like Quantum PC if needed to understand them, so you can turn off the ones that you don’t absolutely need.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

The company that makes the popular Ring cameras recently recommended that users change their passwords and enable two-factor authentication due to a possible breach of user logins.

Two-factor authentication is a good idea to have on any type of login you use and when enabled on smart gadgets can keep hackers out even if they’ve hacked your password.

Keep Firmware/Software Up to Date

Once you get your new wireless router or smart thermostat up and running, it’s easy to forget that these devices get regular updates and security patches just like the software on your computer.

Make sure to either automate smart gadget updates or check for and install them regularly to keep them patched for any security vulnerabilities.

Check Privacy and Data Sharing Settings

As you’re going through the setup process on a new IoT device, you may not notice that little checkbox that’s already clicked saying you’ll share data with the device manufacturer.

Review device privacy and data sharing settings to make sure you’re not transmitting personal data unknowingly that could potentially be intercepted by a hacker.

Review Device Logs Regularly

Many smart gadgets give you the ability to review access logs to your device. Set up a time to regularly review these as a double check to make sure there aren’t any logins showing from strange locations or IP addresses.

Often a hacker may remain silent and not make themselves known, so the access logs will be the first place you can spot an unauthorized login into your device.

Enjoy Your Smart Home with Peace of Mind

Save yourself time, stress, and get peace of mind by having Quantum PC set up and secure your smart home gadgets for you. Our expert technicians can have your devices set up in no time and go through all the proper security precautions to safeguard your family.

Contact Quantum PC today to schedule a smart home consultation. Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.