IoT: How to Secure a Smart Home

Who does not want to live an easy life? Well, I do. It’s human nature. Thanks to the rapid growth of technology and the Internet, we now have ways to reach our goals faster than we could have imagined before. The Internet of Things (IoT), is a recent addition to the expansion of information technology, and it was born to simplify and raise the quality of our lives.

How does IoT work? Things or devices are part of the “Internet of Things”, meaning each of them carries a unique IP address and has the ability to transfer data, and will be connected into a single cohesive network. So all things connected can share or exchange data. The collected data will be converted into useful information for the user or other IoT devices as needed.

How does IoT simplify our lives? There are many ways this can happen. For example, when you live in a “smart home”, you don’t need to be at home to know the status of your kids or be able to monitor every aspect of our home. When you are at office, you could monitor all the devices that are connected via dedicated apps or a central hub that allows you to monitor everything from one place. This means that you can remotely control every single IoT-connected device via your smartphone from afar.

Despite the fact that IoT devices help us out a lot, they also have the potential to cause security problems. The ability to exchange data and an IP address creates a vulnerability that can be exploited by a hacker. So, in other words, each “thing” that is part of the “Internet of Things” at our home, such as smart light bulbs, thermostats, smart coffee makers, smart toothbrushes, etc, could become an entry point for a thief or hacker. If that happens, it could be a very serious breach of privacy. Our private data is sensitive and if it leaks out or is stolen, criminals can do everything from spend your money, compromise your accounts, harass you or ask for ransom.

“IoT vendors need to realize that bundling internet connectivity within a device should more than just a feature that allows users to remotely control them. Because these devices often share the same network with laptops, smartphones, or desktop computers, attackers can leverage vulnerabilities in these IoT devices to move across the network and compromise mission-critical devices,” Bitdefender’s spokesperson said.

Manufacturers realize the security of IoT devices should be prioritized. However, in reality there are IoT devices on the market that don’t include proper security. We should not blame them, because they have their own variables of marketing strategy: price, profit and demand. So in the end, it’s up to us, consumers, to find the best smart home security solution.

There are several important things we should keep in mind when securing our smart home:

  1. Price
    The more expensive the IoT devices we buy, the likely it is that they contain more reliable security compared to cheaper one devices. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee complete safety, but it’s a good starting point.
  2. Updates
    Don’t forget to update all your IoT devices to the latest software version.
  3. Password
    We should create a strong password on each IoT connected device. A strong password has a better shot at preventing hackers from easily entering your network.
  4. Installing security software
    Antivirus software is a must-have on every system, no exceptions.
  5. Knowing your devices
    It’s important to know exactly how many IoT-connected devices exactly you have in your home, and also you should know their status. It’s not difficult to check up on them, as you can easily find a free IoT scanner online.
    If you still worry that the solution you picked is not secure enough, you could add other security tools that work as an added protection layer.
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