Integrating automation products into your home can make your life significantly easier. However, many of these products can be controlled by an app and an internet connection, and this convenience can put your home at risk of being taken over by hackers. Here are two tips for protecting your smart home from criminals.
Upgrade Your Router Security
The apps on your smartphone or tablet use the internet router in your home to wirelessly connect to the home automation products you have installed. One way hackers access the Internet in your home is through this device. Unfortunately, many homeowners make the hacker's job easier by failing to adequately secure their routers. They use the default password supplied by their internet providers or the manufacturers and don't use encryption.
The first thing you should do—and this goes for all the password protected devices in your home automation system—is to change the password to something secure. The password should be a minimum of 12 to 14 characters long because the longer the password the more computing power and time is required to break it. It should also be a random mix of letters, numbers, and symbols to protect against brute force dictionary attacks (i.e. this is when hackers try to guess the password with commonly used words).
Lastly, try not to use the same password in multiple places. When hackers managed to get a password, they'll use it everywhere else they can to gain access. Use a password generator like LastPass or Norton's Identity Safe site if you need help coming up with something strong.
The second thing you can do to protect yourself is to use encryption whenever possible. Encryption scrambles information so that hackers can't read it while it's being transmitted between devices. Whenever possible, make sure the home automation devices have some type of data encryption built in and turn it on. If you access your devices through a web portal, make sure the site use an SSL certificate encryption.
However, encryption also applies to mundane things such as naming devices on an app. Some applications that manage more than one device in the home require you to name the device or area that's being controlled. For instance, a lighting system will require you to name the locations of lights controlled by the app (e.g. dining room, bedroom). Avoid using people's names or even conventional ones. If a hacker doesn't gain access, they won't know right away which devices are connected to the automation system, which may make it useless to them.
For more information on securing your smart home or to install home automation products in your house, contact a local vendor.