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10 Tips for Securing Networked Home Devices


10 Tips for Securing Networked Home Devices

Published Thursday, August 29, 2019
by Addie Buechler, Sr. Product Analyst, Acuity Insurance



The Internet of Things (loT) refers to the ever-growing network of smart sensors embedded into vehicles, homes, and businesses.  In homes, these devices can be part of everything from home security systems and water leak detectors to thermostats and appliances. 

loT devices connect through the Internet and provide a wide array of very useful data to homeowners.  In fact, one of the biggest selling points of home sensor technologies and all the gadgets that make up the Internet of Things (loT) is the sense of security it can provide to you and your family.

However, loT devices create a higher level of cyber risk.  The last thing you want to experience is a violation of that security and privacy by having a device or sensor get hacked.  Here are some steps you can take to improve your loT security:

  1. Choose loT devices from reputable manufacturers that provide information on the security protocols of their products and what type of information the device is collecting and sharing.
  2. Consider whether you need to connect your loT device. Obviously a security system needs to be connected, but you may decide, for instance, to go without remote access to your refrigerator.
  3. Ensure that devices are updated with the latest software and/or firmware and that their security settings are current.
  4. Choose different passwords for every loT device.
  5. Verify your devices are secure when you connect them to your network by following configuration instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  6. Give your home Wi-Fi network a unique username. A generic username, such as the default name assigned by the network router, can indicate the make and model of your device and make it more vulnerable to attacks.
  7. If possible, create a separate guest network for loT devices. Guest networks don’t allow access to your files or home network devices.
  8. Give your networks strong passwords and change them regularly. This will help prevent uninvited users and devices from connecting to your home Internet.
  9. If your devices offer two-factor authentication, use it.
  10. Be sure your personal mobile devices have the latest security updates if you can connect to public Wi-Fi, which is unsecure and can expose your device to malware or viruses. When you reconnect to your home network, viruses can be transmitted to home loT devices.

Remember that a large part of security is deterrence.  A secure network will make it more difficult for hackers to get access to devices connected to it, and the harder you make it for them to gain initial entry, the quicker they will give up and move on to more vulnerable targets.

loT devices can provide a greater level of convenience, comfort and even security for homeowners.  However, it’s important that you don’t just set it and forget it.  Regularly review your home network and its connected devices to be sure you are staying a step ahead of hackers.

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