Smart Home devices are becoming increasingly more popular within recent years. With Google and Amazon competing with each other for the upper hand in the Smart Home market, not only are they affordable, but they're also convenient.
Smart Home devices can even save homeowners a lot of money on their heating and energy bills. Every so often, news stories report that hackers have found a way to spy on users of Smart Home devices and steal their data.
How can I take advantage of the conveniences of Smart Home devices and stay safe at the same time?
Change Your Passwords
Connecting your Smart Home devices involves access to your home WiFi. To ensure that hackers cannot access your Smart Home devices, make sure that you are not using the default password that came with your Internet router or with your Smart Home device. Also, it's crucial that you do not share your account passwords with others and that you change your password every so often.
Enable 2-Factor Authentication
This added layer of security requires that you verify that you are the one attempting to access your account by requesting that you enter a code provided to you within your email account on by an SMS. Enabling a 2FA also allows you to quickly verify when someone else has attempted to access your account.
Install Updates Right Away
In cases where Smart Home device manufacturers discover a security flaw, they quickly patch the flaw and release an update to protect users of those devices. By installing these updates immediately, you'll be safe at the time that the vulnerability is made public. By choosing not to update your device right away, you're leaving your device vulnerable to hackers who now know where the vulnerability lies and how to exploit it.
Uninstall Any Apps You Don't Use
Each app you've authorized to access your account has access to certain personal information that you've provided on your account. While this information is essential for apps like Google Maps, or your favorite pizza delivery app, if you have installed apps you don't use, make sure to uninstall the apps so that they no longer have access to your personal information. Some "fun" apps are created for the sole purpose of capturing your information, always be careful when approving access.
Utilize Services that Monitor Your Accounts for Breaches
Companies like Guardio, who provide online security, monitor your online accounts and let you know if your personal or financial information could at risk of a breach. When a violation is found, they alert you so that you know to secure your accounts and change your passwords both for affected services and other services where you may have used the same password.