Are your smart home devices putting you at risk?

A recent CBC Marketplace investigation found footage from hundreds of private, unsecured security cameras in Canadian homes and businesses are being live streamed online. Check out the full article here!

Recent vulnerabilities have been revealed in several smart home devices. Hackers have been able to live stream security camera feeds, turn on and off different systems in homes and even unlock doors and windows. While these devices allow us the convenience of controlling all of our home systems with the tap of a finger from our smartphones, they also carry certain security risks. Here are some tips to help secure your devices and protect your privacy.

10 tips to secure your smart home devices

1. Give your router a name.

Don’t stick with the name the manufacturer gave it — it might identify the make or model. Give it an unusual name not associated with you or your street address. You don’t want your router name to give away any personal identifiers.

2. Set up a guest network.

Keep your Wi-Fi account private. Visitors, friends and relatives can log into a separate network that doesn’t tie into your devices.

3. Change default usernames and passwords.

Cybercriminals probably know the default password that comes with these products. That makes it easy for them to hack into your devices. 

4. Use strong, unique passwords for Wi-Fi networks and device accounts.

Avoid common words or passwords that are easy to guess, such as “password” or “123456.” Instead, use unique, complex passwords made up of letters, numbers, and symbols. You might also consider a password manager to up your security game.

5. Check the setting for your devices.

Your devices might come with default privacy and security settings. You might want to consider changing them, as some default settings could benefit the manufacturer more than they benefit you.

6. Disable features you may not need.

Some devices come with a variety of services such as remote access, often enabled by default. If you don’t need it, be sure to disable it.

7. Keep your software up to date.

When your smart phone manufacturer sends you a software update, don’t put off installing it. It might be a patch for a security flaw. Mobile security is important, since you may connect to your smart home through mobile devices. Your device makers also may send you updates — or you might have to visit their websites to check for them. Be sure to download updates and apply them to your device to help stay safe.

8. Use two-step authentication

Two-factor authentication — such as a one-time code sent to your cellphone — can keep the bad guys out of your accounts.

9. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks.

You might want to manage your devices through your mobile device in a coffee shop across town. If you’re on public Wi-Fi — generally not a good idea — use a VPN. 

10. Watch out for outages.

Ensure that a hardware outage does not result in an unsecured state for the device.

*Security tips provided by Norton*

Ken Mazurek