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How to Protect Your Smart Home and Gadgets From Hackers

Smart gadgets make our home a better place by introducing various elements of convenience. Think doors that recognize the rightful owner without a key, lights that turn off automatically, and systems that regulate heating.

But what if, somehow, a hacker managed to access your home security camera and watched your family’s every move? How comfortable would you be with the footage being uploaded to the internet without your permission?

These are the risks when security is neglected. As you can see, now it’s more important than ever to protect your smart home gadgets from hackers. But don’t fret; we’ll show you how. Cybersecurity can seem complicated if you never thought about it before, but you can easily keep your gadgets safe if you follow a few simple steps.

1. Change the default password

If you knew how many people don’t even change the default password on their smart gadgets, you’d be amazed. This is the equivalent of sending out an open invitation for people to hack you without doing any of the actual hacking. So come up with a strong password consisting of numbers, symbols, and capital letters, and don’t make it easy to guess.

Also, don’t reuse your passwords. This can help to lower your chances of losing a lot of personal information at the same time. If you’re looking for easy ways to improve your online safety, just create a few combinations of words or characters and use them for different emails or social media platforms.

2. Keep your firmware up-to-date

As new bugs are discovered, device manufacturers push new firmware to address them and patch up any security holes their products might have. Think of it as an operating system that powers your smart devices. But if you don’t take the time to apply these updates, you’re leaving your devices wide open to a potential cyber-attack. 

It’s not a secret that it’s sometimes difficult to remember all these updates. However, if you can’t seem to remember doing it, set weekly or bi-weekly reminders. This will help to keep everything up-to-date and keep your gadgets safe.

3. Go through the security settings

Many devices let you configure them the way you prefer. Therefore, it makes sense to go through their settings and see any privacy or security tweaks you can make. For instance, you may find that some settings (such as gathering data) benefit the manufacturer but are of little use or interest to the end-user.

Don’t forget to limit some settings of your gadgets around the house to meet your cybersecurity needs.

4. Enable two-step authentication

In essence, two-step authentication introduces an additional security verification step before letting you access your account. For instance, this could be a unique code sent to you through another messaging channel such as your smartphone. The idea is that, even if hackers were to get a hold of your password somehow, they would still need physical access to your device to break in. 

Therefore, if your smart device allows 2FA, definitely use it. It is one of the best ways to improve your cybersecurity and know that only you can access your information. 

5. Install a VPN

Having a VPN enabled is a good way to encrypt your network’s traffic. In turn, this will make it harder for the bad guys to snoop on what you do online. If you’re a fan of streaming services, don’t forget that getting a VPN for Firestick (check here) is also a good way to reduce the chances of buffering, thus improving your viewing experience. 

Also, if you’re bringing your gadgets or devices somewhere and you might need to use public Wi-Fi, a VPN is a must if you want to keep your data safe. This tool will secure your internet connection and protect your privacy wherever you go.

6. Replace outdated routers

If you think your router will serve you indefinitely, think again. Ask yourself this: when was the last time you invested in a new one? Given that your network performance is in tip-top shape, it’s easy to get trapped into the illusion that you don’t need to. 

The problem is, old routers tend to be weak in the security department. And you never want to make the hackers’ job too easy. Therefore, take a look at some router options and consider updating such essential household items. 

7. Do an inventory of your devices

It can be quite alluring to always be on the lookout for ways to make your home more appealing, comfortable, functional, or fancy. But every new device in the chain introduces a potential point of entry for cyber-attacks. Therefore, you should make a thorough assessment of what you need and what you could afford to live without.

Also, only buy these gadgets from official websites. This way, you’ll know that you’re definitely getting a good product from a trustworthy source. Some sketchy places might offer “better” deals, but keep in mind that their items could be a bit unsafe to use daily.

8. Split up your network

According to the FBI, letting your fridge use the same network as your laptop is a security risk. If you split up your local network into multiple parts, isolating a potential breach becomes much easier. In other words, someone may hack into your fridge’s database to access usage statistics, but they won’t be able to interfere with the devices where you store your most valuable pieces of data.

Conclusion

Without a shred of doubt, smart gadgets are synonymous with comfort and convenience. But this should never come at the price of security, so make sure to apply what we’ve covered today.

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Anurag

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