Cyber-security at home is more important than most people realize. Just because you’re home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe. If you have one or more smart devices that make life easier at your house, strong cyber-security tactics are vital. This prevents malicious attacks on your computers, thermostats, monitoring systems, and more.
Few things are worse than realizing that a stranger has violated the sanctity of your home through remote measures. Play it safe, and stay up-to-date on AI security measures that keep your smart home impenetrable. These tips will help.
Change the Passwords on Your Smart Home Devices
Are you still using the factory-default password on your smart devices? If you didn’t reset the password that came with your baby monitor or doorbell, you’re giving hackers instant access. At least make them work for the intrusion.
Researchers in Israel set out to see how easily they could crack AI security devices. And what they discovered is startling. Simply using the factory-set password gave them access to 14 out of 16 devices. Using these passwords, they could play music through baby monitors, adjust thermostats, and turn cameras on remotely. Even worse — they found most of the passwords through a simple Google search of the manufacturers.
Log Out of Your Computer When You’re Done for the Day
Not all cyber-security threats come through remote measures. For instance, anyone could sit down at your home computer and access your desktop if you leave it logged in. This includes intruders, nosy house guests, and angry spouses.
They may not steal your banking information, but they could tinker with your social media and email accounts. They could also access information, such as messages, that you’d rather keep private.
Change the Name of Your Router
Did you change the name of your router after setting it up? If not, neighbors and others who are nearby will see your device’s SSID, or service set identifier. If you’re using identifiers such as Linksys, Netgear, or even default, you could be using the same identifier as every other router in the area. While this doesn’t give hackers automatic access to your system, it could alert them you’re not terribly tech-savvy. Therefore, if they’re searching for a vulnerable target, you could be the one.
Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
It feels like a hassle to keep your phone nearby when logging into your bank from your desktop. However, that simple, six-digit code they text you could save you a colossal headache later on. Two-factor authentication prevents hackers from logging into your accounts remotely. They can’t access your log-in credentials, even if they have your password, without entering the code from your phone or email.
So, while it may seem like an unnecessary evil to opt in to two-factor authentication on sites such as Paypal or your financial institution’s online banking network, it really isn’t. Doing so requires only a few extra seconds whenever you need to log in. And those seconds could mean the difference between keeping your information safe and allowing a stranger to hijack it.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
The problem with free wi-fi is that you never know who’s hosting it. It could be legitimate. Then again, it could be a trap carefully constructed by your local hacker. If you log in to a bogus network, then the hacker sits between you and the legitimate host. In this way, they can monitor your traffic and capture vital information such as log-in credentials, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and passwords. They can also install damaging malware onto your device that you’ll carry home afterward.
If you have to use public Wi-Fi, refrain from accessing sensitive websites such as your bank. And use a VPN, or virtual private network, to add an extra layer of security. You can also install extensions on your laptop or tablet that only let you access encrypted sites that use HTTPS instead of HTTP. Still, the best method of prevention is simply to steer clear of free public Wi-Fi altogether.
Perform Software Updates Right Away
Yes, it’s tempting to hit that “remind me later” button when you’re in the middle of an important task. However, this is always a bad idea when updates are involved. If your smartphone is alerting you that a new update is ready, take time to install it right away. Doing so could install valuable patches that protect against cyber attacks. This one simple chore could prevent you from losing important information. It could also help to keep your smart device running smoothly and safely.
Smart home devices make life easier. There’s no argument. But unless you take pains to protect them from prying eyes, they could end up being more headaches than conveniences. Simple safeguards, such as educating yourself on what types of ransomware and phishing scams are out there, make a real difference. Once you’re aware of what could happen, you can better arm your household against it. In this way, you and your loved ones can sit back and enjoy the smart luxuries of life without having to worry about who else may be watching.