10 tips to make your smart home more secure

10 lightbulbs illustrating 10 bright ideas

This article is focused on your home network and the devices connected to it. Here are our top tips to help you secure your home, especially whilst most of us are working from home.

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. Use a strong encryption method for Wi-Fi

In your router settings, it’s a good idea to use a strong encryption method, like WPA2, when you set up Wi-Fi network access. This will help keep your network and communications secure.

3. Set up a guest/different network

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

Some WIFI routers let you set up multiple networks. If they do, consider putting all your IoT devices on a separate network from your phone, home PC or laptop. This makes it easier to monitor what the IoT devices are doing.

4. Change default usernames and passwords

Cybercriminals probably already know the default passwords that come with many IoT products. That makes it easy for them to access your IoT devices and, potentially, the information on them. Are you considering a device that doesn’t allow you to change the default password? Then consider a different one.

5. 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 uppercase or lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Don’t be afraid to write it down. Its more secure in a notepad in a drawer in your house than it is in a note on your phone, which is also stored in the cloud.

6. Check the settings for your devices

Your IoT 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.

7. Disable features you may not need

IoT 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. An example is on the Amazon Show. If you don’t use the camera, turn it off in the settings.

8. 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 IoT device makers also may have sent 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.

9. Audit the IoT devices already on your home network

It could be time to upgrade that old security camera. Take time to check if newer models might offer stronger security.

10. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks

You might want to manage your IoT devices through your mobile device from another location across town. If you’re on public Wi-Fi — generally not a good idea — use a VPN. Most phone companies supply it for free, for a limited amount of data per month.