December 2

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Holiday 2020: Tips to Secure Your Smart Home Gifts and IoT Devices

We all wish to make our home smarter and efficient. Many smart home products are available in deals during this holiday season, luring people to buy them. They are even compatible with most of the home ecosystems and installations. So, who would not purchase it if they are in Discounts & Offers?

Amazon increased its sale by 60% between this Black Friday to Cyber Monday, surpassing business records of $4.8 billion in global sales. The most amazing fact is that Amazon's new Echo Dot has been a top seller along with its Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote, iRobot Roomba Vacuum, Ring, Blink, and eero devices, and many other items. However, these smart gadgets – Smart TVs, Ring, Security Camera, Echo Dot, Smart Thermostat, etc., connected to our home network may be vulnerable. That's why it's essential to have a defense plan to minimize these risks.

Secure Your Smart Home with These Tips

Be Aware of Password Exploitation Technique

Hackers can easily penetrate the security wall of smart home hubs if they have a weak password. Commonly, people don't use complex passwords for the smart-home hubs, as a result of which all the smart devices connected to that network are at significant risk. Hackers can gain access and tamper devices connected to it. For example, temperature fluctuation through the smart thermostat, smart light automatic turns on/off, instant flipping of the TV channels, etc., spook homeowners.

Therefore, it is recommended to have all the smart devices their own unique and complex passwords, and two-factor authentication enabled.

Don't Allow Your Smart Devices to Track Your Location.

No doubt that we trust our Smart home devices so much that we provide them with our private information, especially allowing them to access our address where we live in. But are we sure our address is private? Can we trust that these devices are maintaining the privacy policy and not giving away our live location? If this is the case, it allows hackers to spy on our daily activities. When the malicious link is clicked through a smart device or computer, then it dupes the devices to reveal where they are by the network they're connected to as they work.

Hence, to keep our coordinates secret, it is always best to have a second network for our Smart home devices. Moreover, it is necessary to be extra cautious when allowing your locations on any device and click any provided links instead of copying and pasting those in the browser.

Lock Your Settings Especially for Smart Appliances

People often take this very lightly, but smart devices should not control the house's critical control systems. It's simple because breaches to these devices can cause the system's malfunction, causing a disastrous life harming situation. For instance, if there's a breach in the smart thermostat, then hackers can fiddle the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system to override it, and people inside the house may lose their lives. It's a similar case with smart security locks, smart plugs, smart AC, smart Lightning, and many more. Some can even crank up smart electronic kitchen devices and setting the house on fire.

So, even if we opt for these smart devices, make sure to lock your settings and harder for others to change it quickly.

Get Alert for Data Manipulation Signs

Hackers are ingenious to commit a crime and leave no evidence. Around 40% of IoT devices connected to a network are unencrypted. These include smart TVs, printers, a security camera that transmits data where hackers can perform a man-in-the-middle attack, views it, and alter the data. To illustrate, someone trying to break into your house could edit the footage captured by your camera and replace it with some surveillance footage.

We can avoid this risk by avoiding weak or default credentials, updating the devices regularly to minimize the loopholes, and using proper networking monitoring and intrusion detection tools to detect suspicious activity.

Do not rely on Third-Party.

It is a shock to know that smart-home hijackings are possible through a third-party. Most homeowners use a convenient way to perform the activity through their smart devices, such as integrating third-party apps to turn on/off lights, shut/lock doors, heat increase/decrease. Have you ever had a feeling where someone is impersonating you and manipulating your devices? It is because apps without security provide permission to perform different activities and activate automatic group permission for all the smart device's functions.

Hence, it is crucial to keep an eye on the third-party app's functions. Moreover, do not allow all apps to authorize the smart devices. Make sure to review the ratings and comments before downloading and giving authorization to the third-party apps.

To add up more, some other tips we can follow to protect against smart home hacks are listed below:

  • Protect your privacy by deleting the recordings from the smart devices
  • Always turn off the speakers when not in use and do not pair your security monitoring devices with a smart speaker
  • Have two-steps authentication enabled
  • Avoid connecting to the public Wi-Fi
  • Audit your IoT devices connected to your network
  • Guest and private networks should be separable
  • Use different router name and avoid default name and credential
  • Try to disable features that are not needed
  • Track the devices connected to your network

About Allari

Allari implements customized service plans for IT Operations & Cyber-security which allow you to complete a higher volume of planned work, gain the capacity to innovate and help your business to win.

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About the author

Priya Thapa

Inspired by Allan Turing, who is considered to be the father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, I am very fascinated by cryptography and deciphering secret codes. I have an interest in Network, Application, and Information Security.


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