Home automation is a wonderful thing. Its turns the lights on whenever you enter a room, it locks the door and windows, and makes sure no one gets in without you knowing about it. Smart thermostats can even adjust the room temperature so you don’t have to feel too hot or cold. Yes, living in a connected home which operates by the Internet of Things is just one of those perks that you just wouldn’t want to do without. But, just like everything else in life, living in a fully automated home also leaves it open to security issues. Here we are going talk about just a few of them and the ways in which you can keep your home safe.
Always Use a Firewall
Home automation is simple when you think of it. For instance, using a simple smart light socket that can be controlled via your smartphone means that the smartphone uses the internet to talk to the device. This also means that those using the internet can also talk back. This is the reason why using a firewall is so important while installing any home automation device that is “always on.”
There are also some devices like the IP security cameras which suggest that you can make the setup a lot easier by just exposing the device to the internet. And while it does rely on password protection along with self contained web pages in order to stay secure, sadly, we have learnt the hard way that these devices are not reliable when it comes to security. But, you can take precautions by simply using a stronger password and always keep them locked behind a firewall, preferably one that has port forwarding configured.
Check for Security Updates
According to the latest technology blog on security, the first thing you should do when you unpack and plugin the smart device is to check for firmware updates. Like most peripherals, the odds that it already has the latest firmware on it is really low and it’s likely that there is an update out there. So, go to the manufacturer’s website and get the update right away because software patches are necessary for keeping those devices safe online.
Get Your Own VPN
You can really make your connected home secure by using your own VPN or virtual private network. A VPN basically gives you the ability to securely connect to the smart appliances in your home from a remote location. A VPN does that by creating a private connection between you and your home network so that all information running between you and the device in your home is encrypted. In short, a VPN actually enables homeowners to open up their smart appliances to the internet, but not the internet as a whole, which keeps them safe from prying eyes. You can either use one of the premium VPN services available online or just roll your own VPN with tools such as OpenVPN or Raspberry Pi.
At the end of the day, it is important to understand that the weakest link in home automation that leads to security breaches is usually the home owner (that’s you!). This is why it is important to take the time and educate yourself on the various ways in which you can make your smart home safe from malicious users who could use your devices for their own malevolent purposes. Picture this; your IP camera being plastered all over the internet so that everyone can see what you are doing at home without your knowledge. Or, your home’s smart thermostat gets turned into a subject of script kiddies for a quick laugh. While these may seem farfetched, they can still happen according to the latest technology blog, and it’s your job to make sure it doesn’t.
It is no secret that the proliferation of smart devices into our homes has also opened the doors to new and unforeseen dangers we never knew existed. While the same technologies which give us these complex devices which in turn are used in our homes, actually increases the potential of security vulnerabilities. Hopefully using these tips will help you keep your connected home safe while using the Internet of Things.