How can you make your smart home safer?
Many of us have embraced new technologies that allow us to create smart homes. We might use our smart speakers to control the lighting in the lounge. Or we might program the temperature settings. Either way, there are plenty of ways to pick up smart automations around the home.
To operate these automations, they’re connected using a Wi-Fi network and accessed from one networked device. So, door locks might be controlled via an app on a smartphone or cameras might be linked through software on a tablet.
There are many benefits of creating a smart home. However, as these automated elements need the internet to work, there are some security risks to be aware of. Here, we look at how to make your smart home safe.
Why make your home smart?
There are plenty of positives that come from creating a smart home. One of the biggest is that they can potentially cut down on energy use, which can be good for both the environment and homeowners’ bank balance. With rising energy prices playing a key role in many people’s budgeting for 2023, switching to a smart home could make a difference.
Smart homes have an enormous convenience factor to them. All smart home devices will be connected through one interface that allows people to manage all of them from one place only. This means that people can check or activate home functions remotely through their smartphone, regardless of how far from home they are.
Additionally, automating parts of the home makes everyday tasks easier. A smart oven, for example, will be able to assist while cooking, ensuring that what’s being cooked doesn’t burn. When windows can be opened at the touch of a button and thermostats adjusted remotely, it makes processes smoother.
Things to be aware of
Increased connectivity has its plus-points, but connecting your house to the internet can also introduce risks. Cyber security is something that needs to be taken seriously when we’re using the internet for anything, from locking the front door to adjusting the heating.
These steps are not so different from what we should regularly do to protect ourselves from cyber threats. However, it’s especially important to be aware of how this works at home to enhance our safety. Here are some ways to make your home safer:
- Use malware protection
Malware is a type of destructive software that can be used to damage a computer system. It’s mostly used by hackers to gain access and it can mean a breach of privacy, with personal data becoming available to cyber criminals.
Investing in malware protection means that this disruptive software doesn’t reach your home system. It can also protect from the latest threats and block any access to malicious sites. Sometimes clicking on a bad link or opening a pop-up ad can trigger malware. By opting for protective tools which block malware, this threat is significantly reduced.
- Update your passwords
Changing passwords regularly can seem laborious, especially when there are so many to remember. But it’s a worthwhile task as it adds a layer of security and offers would-be hackers one less means of getting hold of your data.
As well as changing passwords for websites and any online accounts, change your Wi-Fi password too. Again, this adds a layer of protection.
- Add two-step authentication
You might have come across CAPTCHA, (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). These are designed to check that you’re a human and not a robot trying to access a system. They’ve been around for a while and it looks like these tests are here to stay.
While these tend to apply to big websites and organisations, you’ll have been asked to apply a similar extra level of security before now. You might have been asked to add your mobile number for your PayPal account. Or you’ve updated your online banking with a few more steps to prove you are who you say you are.
Adding this extra step to your smart setup at home can create another protective layer.
- Regularly update your smart devices
Software updates are necessary for the device to have the latest security patches that address vulnerabilities discovered in the product. Updates are released by the device manufacturer, however they are not always advertised.
To ensure that your device is up to date you should check the manufacturer’s website regularly and, additionally, update the mobile app used to communicate with the smart device.
- Read reviews
Before buying or committing to a new device or a specific brand or model, it would be wise to check the professional and customer reviews online. Reviews are usually a genuine attempt to help other customers make an informed decision and can give you an idea of the issues related to the device.
Smart homes are becoming the norm. Make sure that you’re secure if you’re joining the trend.