Keeping Smart Devices SafeSubmitted by Prosperity Advisory Group on November 13th, 2018
Smart devices can make life more efficient and convenient, making it easy to manage your TV, locks, garage doors, lights, thermostats and more. However they can also make it more convenient for the “bad actors” who want to leverage all that smart efficiency to compromise your security and leave you vulnerable to attack.
Here are some tips to help you secure your smart devices:
1. Check the settings for all your smart devices, and use the latest software. Don’t use the default settings (name, password, etc). Be sure every device is using the latest firmware or software – if the device doesn't update automatically, you can download the update from the manufacturer’s website, which will also have instructions. While you’re at it, disable any features you don’t need on your smart devices, to give those bad actors fewer ways to access your home. Finally, you can often program your own “wake word” for devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, making it less likely a bad actor can use the devices to unlock doors, for example.
2. Make your wireless router safer. Give your router a new name – don’t use the one it came with and be sure not to use any of your household names (people or pets), any part of your street address, or any name that would give away personal information. Be sure to use a strong password and check our router’s manual to sure you are using newly released WPA3 settings. You can also create a guest network with a separate password for visitors. In addition to using this for guests to your home, you can connect smart devices to this network, which will limit access to your personal computers and all the information they contain.
3. Set up two-factor authentication (here is a good article explaining this term and while it is from 2015, the explanation is accurate and concise.) Most devices and accounts allow you set up two-factor authentication, which means you’ll need to confirm your identity when you sign in from an unfamiliar device – you’ll be asked to enter a code you receive via text, call, or email. This can help prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to your smart devices and causing trouble.