As our homes become increasingly connected and smarter, with more devices added to our networks, the risk of cyberattacks has also increased. Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in smart home networks to exploit and gain access to sensitive information or control over our devices. Therefore, taking precautions to secure our smart home networks and keep hackers out is crucial.
Here I will give you some tips on how to keep hackers from accessing smart home networks; links to websites are for reference only as there are many options out there, and it will take some time to work through it all; however, it is the best security, and you will get there.
Let us get into it.
Change the default username and password on your smart devices
Many smart devices come with default usernames and passwords that are easily guessed or widely known. Hackers can use these default credentials and use specialized software to gain access to your network and devices; these people, although criminals, they are very clever. So be sure to change each device’s default username and password on your network to a unique and strong one.
These passwords can be difficult to remember, I know someone who writes down their passwords in an old book, they select a page number they can remember easily and put it on their bookshelf. Personally, I use a password secured file on my phone, that file is also saved in the cloud so I can access it from any device, this is in case my phone is lost/stolen or damaged.
Use strong password combinations
A strong password contains a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Avoid easily guessable passwords, such as “password123” or “12345678”. Instead, use a passphrase that is easy to remember but difficult to guess, such as “1LoveMyDo9” I think using something abstract that you can remember easily is the best way to go.
Create a separate network for your smart devices
I use a separate network for my own smart devices, such as switches, dimmers, lights, etc. This can be done using a separate router or setting up a guest network on your existing router; most routers have a guest network activated, and you can edit the required information and use this for your smart home network.
By creating a separate network, you can isolate your smart devices from your main network, reducing the risk of hacking sensitive information or controlling your devices; this does happen. This can also help to reduce the impact of a potential cyber attack as it will be contained within the smart device network. I would advise you to read your router user manual on how to add a network, it’s surprisingly easy, and there are many good tutorials on YouTube as well as running a general search on Google, be sure to reference the make and model of your device, this information is usually found on the back of the device.
Disable unused features and services on your smart devices
Many smart devices have features and services you may not need or use; these can pose a security risk, as they may provide hackers with a way to access your network or devices. Therefore, it is best to disable any features or services you do not need or use, such as remote access or UPnP (Universal Plug and Play).
UPnP is a range of networking protocols that allows devices to discover each other and establish communication on a network; once again, consulting the manufacturer’s documentation is your first step; also, remember to check out the net for more information and tutorials.
Use a VPN to stay safe from hackers
A virtual Private Network (VPN) helps by providing another layer of security by encrypting internet traffic and routing it through secure servers. This can help to protect your smart home network from potential cyber-attacks and keep your data private. When using a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted, and your IP (Internet Protocol) address is hidden, making it more challenging for hackers to track your online activities or gain access to your devices.
There are many VPN services available, and it is essential to choose a reputable one with strong encryption and a no-logs policy; here is a website I think explains VPN’s and the no-logs policy in a straight forward.
Enable two-factor authentication on your smart home network
I like Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) because it is a very good additional security feature that requires a second form of authentication; the most convenient is a code sent to your phone, which is in addition to your username and password. Enabling 2FA can help to prevent hackers from gaining access to your smart home network, even if they have your username and password. Many smart devices, routers, and other network equipment now support 2FA, and it is best to enable it wherever possible.
Monitor your smart home network for suspicious activity
Monitoring suspicious activity is increasingly important as more devices are connected to our home networks. To do so, use a network scanner to identify all devices on your network. Be sure to set up alerts for unusual activity; many free and paid network scanner tools, such as Fing, are available. Review network logs to identify patterns; this type of security software can detect and block malicious traffic and monitor individual smart home devices for vulnerabilities. I like to keep My devices updated with the latest security updates, and I change the My username and password to make it as difficult as possible for hackers; I do this every few months, and it works fine.
Unfortunately, smart home hackers are out there; I recommend taking these steps will help you protect your home’s IoT network and avoid potential cyber-attacks. First, use the net to find legitimate cyber security software; this should give you good security.
Frequently Asked Questions on Smart Home Hackers
Yes, hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in these devices and gain access to your personal information, monitor your activities, or control your home’s devices.
Smart devices can be hacked through weak passwords, unpatched software, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, malware, and insecure communication protocols, making personal information vulnerable to cyber attacks.
There is no definitive answer, as the number of smart home hacks is difficult to determine, but smart homes are increasingly becoming targets for cyber attacks.
Smart home devices that are most vulnerable to cyber-attacks are those that are connected to the internet and have weak security features. This includes routers, cameras, thermostats, voice assistants, and smart locks.