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How to keep your smart home safe and secure from digital attacks

The future is here. That idealised version of having a fully integrated smart home we’ve been talking about for years has arrived, especially with the introduction of various smart home devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo.

While this is cause for celebration for many, it is also a cause for concern as that means more opportunities for unwanted visitors onto your private network.

Fully integrating into a smart home does have its own fair share of obstacles — one of which is having to deal with potential of cybersecurity hacks. While we can’t guarantee your private network will be fully secure, here are some ways to can prevent the worst from happening.

Stick to big name brands

The Google Home Smart Speaker and Voice Assistant

When it comes to picking your preferred smart home device, sometimes it’s best to stick with the bigger brands. While it may seem like a steal to purchase a foreign, no-name brand, you may never know if they will resolve your issues if any ever arises. With the likes of Samsung, Google, and Amazon already part of the smart home system, at least you know something will get done if a problem ever occurs.

On another note, when deciding on a particular smart home device, be sure to surround it with compatible gear. While it may sound like a good idea to mix Google Home products with Amazon Echo or the Apple HomeKit, chances are these devices only pair well when compatible with one another. Stick with one and build around it.

Secure your router

Keeping your router secure allows for a safer network experience.

With so many devices connected to your router, it can get pretty taxing so be sure to invest in its longevity and reliability. While there are plenty of routers currently available, choose one that best suits your needs. If you’re looking to setup multiple wireless networks, find a router that can do just that to separate your smart home device usage from other devices.

As your router is the gateway between all your devices and the internet, it will be best to keep it as safe and secure as possible. One such way is giving your network a name and password that only you will know. This not only lowers the risk of possible attacks, but it also gives you the chance to be creative with your names and throw potential hackers off your scent. Be sure to also keep the router updated to any firmware changes so it is up to date at all times.

Keep it regularly updated

If you’re a Windows or MacOS user, you’re probably familiar with receiving updates on a regular basis without even asking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said with your smart home devices. The devices are not going to actively seek out updates; the onus is on you to update them accordingly. Fortunately, most big-name brand devices now come with its own smartphone app for better integration and usability.

This allows you to keep track of the updates for your smart home devices. However, updates are few and far between, unlike how it is when you’re running a Windows or Mac device. But if a security exploit were to ever happen, you can expect an updated security patch to come through in a few days. While it may seem like a hassle to constantly keep your smart home devices up-to-date, one must consider the fact that its firmware is the first line of defense against any threats.

Do your due dilligence

Once you have chosen your smart home device and secured your wireless network, it’s now time to learn what the device is capable of. The whole idea of a smart home is exciting, but it can also be a daunting task. Anything can happen so preparation is key. Luckily, many smart home devices are already straightforward so setting them up shouldn’t take a rocket scientist.

Be sure to know what your device is capable of doing and what isn’t. This may seem tedious for some, but 20 minutes of inconvenience is better than a lifetime of regret.

Wi-Liam Teh
Senior Writer
Wi-Liam is a geek at heart with a penchant for tattoos. Never without a drink in hand (preferably whisky, gin, or Guinness), he is also a writer by day and a keyboard warrior by night. On his day off, he masquerades as a streetwear and sneakerhead enthusiast while his bank account says otherwise.
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