August 29th, 2022
How to protect your smart home from hackers
From speakers and security cameras to thermostats and lights, smart devices can save you money and make your life more convenient. But some of these gadgets can create a backdoor for hackers looking to break into your wireless network.
Don't worry though, there are some simple steps you can take to secure your smart devices—and your home. We'll walk you through them. At Asurion, we teach you all about your tech. Whether you want to lower your electric bill with your smart home devices or print from your iPad®, we can help. Here's how to secure your smart home devices.
Replace your outdated router
If you have an older router, it may not be completely secure, especially if your smart home devices, phone, or laptop are new. Consider replacing it for the best compatibility and security.
Change your default user and network names
Smart home devices work when they're connected to Wi-Fi, so the first step to protecting your smart home from hackers is to secure your network. Make sure to change the default user and network names for your Wi-Fi router right away. Anyone can look these up online—and tap into your network.
The instructions for changing your default settings are typically printed on your router, and they require you to go to a website or type your IP address into a web browser. Once you've done so, enter the login information the manufacturer provides and follow the rest of the steps.
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Select the most secure Wi-Fi settings
When setting up your Wi-Fi, make sure you're using the highest degree of security available. Choose WPA2, or if it's an option, select WPA3. Also, check that you've turned on the highest security option on each of your smart home devices.
Create a strong password for your Wi-Fi network
Next, you should change the factory default password that came with your smart device. When you update it, make sure to:
- Choose a strong password that's long, difficult-to-guess, and doesn't contain any predictable personal information, like your name or birthday.
- Set up a unique password for your Wi-Fi network only—don't reuse a password you use for another device.
- Change your password often, or even better, set up a password manager.
Create a separate Wi-Fi network for your smart devices
For extra security, consider setting up a separate router for your smart home devices. This would have a different network name and password than your main router. Or you could put all your smart home devices on a guest network. To do either, follow the instructions for your router.
Turn on two-factor authentication
If you use iCloud® or Google® accounts, you're likely familiar with two-factor authentication, which sends you a unique code on a specific device anytime you sign in to your account from an unknown device. Without that code, you can't sign in.
So even if a hacker figures out your username and password, they won't be able to get into your account. Also, if an unauthorized person tries to sign in, you'll get a notification of suspicious activity. If that happens, you should change your password.
Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
When you're away from home and want to control your smart home devices remotely—think turning on your lights or locking your front door—avoid public Wi-Fi networks, like those found in airports and coffee shops. It's much safer to use your personal hotspot. Or, if you have to use an unsecured network, make sure to use your VPN.
Choose smart devices with security in mind
Here's what to consider when shopping for smart devices:
- Reliable brands. When comparing smart plugs, smart lights, or video doorbells, choose a reputable name brand over a low-price knockoff—you'll be more likely to get good service and regular software updates.
- A firewall. For extra security, consider installing a hardware firewall, a separate device that keeps intruders from gaining easy access to your network. Some Wi-Fi routers and modems have built-in firewall capability, so check before you buy a new one.
Keep your devices updated
Make sure to turn on automatic updates—if they're available—for your router and your smart home devices. Registering your devices with the manufacturer should help you get regular updates. If automatic updates aren't an option, make sure to check regularly for updates for your smart devices and router.
Unlink old devices
If you replace a smart device, make sure to unlink the old device from the rest of your home network so a hacker can't get into your accounts. If you replace your phone, it's a good idea to remove the smart phone apps from your old phone to protect your personal information and your devices.
Tech is expensive. Protect it all.
Protect the devices your family loves and relies on with one simple plan that covers all your favorite home tech. With Asurion Home+, we cover your computers, TVs, tablets, premium headphones, smart devices, and so much more—plus, 24/7 assistance for your whole family with any tech care need—for less than $1 per day. Learn more about Asurion Home+ coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.
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