10 Tips To Secure Your Smart Devices and IoT Devices At Home

Date Jan 7, 2021
Blog category Broadband
By Staff Writer

Smart devices and the internet of things (IoT) have greatly improved our lives. With only a few simple clicks, you can connect to the web, talk to friends, and stream your favourite movie. With the technology getting better, you can now change the colours of your lighting, ask your home speaker questions, and even control your appliances real-time!

These devices are indeed helpful, but they also pose high risks for personal security. Avoid compromising your data by securing your smart and IoT devices. Here are 10 easy tips to keep your home digitally safe and secure.

1. Use the highest authentication for your Wi-Fi

Most likely, your smart devices will connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. This makes Wi-Fi authentication all the more important. When setting up the connection in your router, choose the highest encryption. For most routers, it’s WPA2, but some newer routers now may come with WPA3 authentication. This keeps your network and communications secure most of the time.

If you have a router that only supports WPA or WEP, it’s time to update. It’s the main gateway for smart devices and IoT to work, so keep the security as tight as possible.

2. Change the default name of your router

You’re free to change the name of your router, so do it! Don’t keep the name your manufacturer has set in your router. This can identify the name and model of your router. Hackers can use these details to change your default login and password, and get access to your smart and IoT devices.

Be as creative as possible in coming up with a new name. Don’t use identifiable information such as your name, birthday, or address.

3. Set super-strong and unique passwords

Once you have a newer and more secure router, the next thing you should do is to set super-strong passwords. Avoid using your birthday or name of your first pet as your password. The more random, the better. Chances are, if you can easily think of it, hackers can easily think of it too! That’s why you should set something unique as your passwords.

It’s also recommended to change your passwords once every three months. This prevents you from possible data compromise that you may not be aware of.

4. Update software in your devices

Whenever your devices have an update, do it immediately. Most people are hesitant to update because it takes a big chunk of storage space.  However, it’s essential to ensure your device has the latest security settings. Plus, it fixes bugs and glitches from the previous software versions.

To keep your devices updated, make it a habit to check for one at least once every few months. Otherwise, turn on the auto-update feature in your devices.

5. Enable two-factor authentication 

Two-factor authentication (2FA) prevents your smart and IoT devices from getting hacked. It provides an extra layer of security, which makes your devices harder to infiltrate. Aside from your password, you need the OTP sent to your mobile number or email address before accessing your account.

Most devices now have a  2FA feature. If your devices don’t have it yet, you can always set it up using third-party apps such as Google Authenticator and Microsoft Authenticator.

6. Use a VPN whenever possible

It’s not recommended to use public Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a choice but to connect to it, make sure you use VPN. It may seem harmless, but most cyberattacks happen using public Wi-Fi. When you and the hacker connect to the same network at the same time, they can easily collect your personal information. 

As a rule of thumb, don’t use free VPN applications. They don’t tunnel your connection in any way. If anything, they may open your network to more risks.

7. Make use of a guest account

Although you probably trust the visitors in your home, you can never be too sure. This keeps your personal information as well as their log-in details safe. Once the visitors close the guest account, no information is saved in the device. This prevents their details from being connected to your smart and IoT devices.

Great news is, most devices have ready options for guest accounts! If your devices don’t have this feature yet, you may look on how to set it up manually.

8. Disable features you don’t use

If you don’t use it, why keep it, right? Luckily, most smart and IoT devices give you the freedom and full access to your settings. Features such as remote access and voice commands are on by default. If you don’t use them, turn them off. This also applies for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivities of your devices.

If hacked, they may use the mic or camera to spy on you and your family. Disabling these features blocks any possible hack points in your devices. 

9. Upgrade your devices

If your devices aren’t supported by the manufacturer anymore, it’s due for an upgrade. Even if they’re still working fine physically, an unsupported operating system poses a high risk to cyberattacks. You don’t have even the most basic level of protection and security if ever an attack happens. 

Fortunately, most manufacturers support their smart and IoT devices for up to three years. Some even support their devices for up to 5 years!

10. Be extra wary of outages

No matter how fast your connection is, it may still suffer from occasional outages. This can be caused by a glitch in the broadband provider’s system or just a busy day when a lot of people connect to the internet. However, if your connection drop is an isolated case, the outage may be a cyberattack!

If this happens, make sure to contact your broadband provider and ask relevant details about the outage. If everything is fine on the provider’s end, it’s likely an attack. But no worries, you can always reset your connection by logging out your devices and changing your log-in details immediately.

Best of all, make sure your broadband is from a trusted NZ provider. Choose a plan from a reliable company that has excellent services in your area. Compare the best broadband plans now, using our comparison tool right here at CompareBear.