From smart home assistants and connected speakers to baby monitors and fitness trackers, chances are that one or more smart devices have made their way into your home following the gift-giving festivities of the holiday season.
Every year we see new smart devices hit the shelves promising to make everyday tasks more convenient or fun. And as Aussie parents seek relief from their busy schedules in whichever way they can, the number of connected devices in the family home grows. Whether they allow us to manage our shopping lists and appointments, keep an eye on the kids or even brew a coffee to keep us going at the touch of a button, the benefits of smart devices feel endless, making them the perfect gift.
But….There Is A Risk
But as we’re all in the business of keeping our families safe and healthy, we must acknowledge the risks involved with bringing smart devices into the home. Connected security cameras, coffee machines, printers and locks are just some of the devices that have been hacked or identified as vulnerable to hackers in recent years – the reasons for attacks ranging from mischievous to malicious.
This list that will only continue to grow as hackers see the increasing number of devices in the home as a huge opportunity to compromise the privacy and security of families for monetary gain, or sometimes simply to instill fear.
Top Tips To Secure Your Smart Devices
Here are my top tips on how to use to securely manage your connected devices so you can enjoy all the fabulous, life-enhancing benefit they offer busy, frazzled parents (like me!):
Check the device’s security track record
Before you or your family members unbox and power up your new connected device, it’s important to know what exactly you’re bringing into the home. Start with a quick Google search and read the product reviews. This will quickly uncover whether the product was made by a reputable brand with security standards and if any security flaws or concerns have been discovered in the past.
Update the software on ALL devices
While updating the software on your phone or computer might seem like a given, we must do the same for any connected device we bring into the home. Smart televisions, baby monitors and even light bulbs should be updated in real-time wherever possible, as most software updates come with a patch for security vulnerabilities, bugs and other threats. If you can, set up an auto-update so you can use your device worry free!
Change default settings, use strong passwords, and enable two-factor authentication
Be honest, are you still currently using the default password that came with your modem router out of the box? If you answered yes – you wouldn’t be alone. But the problem is these default passwords are often generic and easily guessable making your device a very easy target for a hacking attack by a cybercriminal. In fact, failure to change default passwords is almost with exception, the cause of the smart device hacking horror stories we all read about in the news.
But the good news is that changing your default password is usually a simple and quick procedure. Simply go into the general and advance product settings of your device and put in place strong passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers, characters. Random phrases can work well too. And why not start with your router, the gateway most hackers use to get into your smart home? This way you’ll be protecting your entire home network!
Cleaning up your digital life after an online attack is not fun. It can be costly, time-consuming and possibly even damaging to your reputation and safety. So, please, make the time to follow these few simple steps so you can give your smart home the best fighting chance against cybercriminals and most importantly, enjoy your new connected gadgets in peace.
What things have you done to help secure your and your kids’ smart devices? Tell us in the comments below.