A connected home can make your life more manageable and your work efficient. According to a Verified Market Research report, the smart home market size will reach from US$ 119.95 billion in 2021 to US$ 867.87 billion by 2030. Its market will likely expand at a CAGR of 23.6% from 2022 to 2030.
While having a smart home can improve efficiency, control energy use, and provide peace of mind, there is one big downside – potential hackers. Your home’s security system, lights, locks and thermostats are all potential entry points for hackers.
Protecting Smart Home Systems
A smart home system is a network of devices and appliances that can be controlled remotely and automatically from anywhere through an internet connection. Smart home systems help manage various functionalities like lighting, temperature, security access, electronic equipment, etc.
A smart home system usually comprises of a central control panel, which can be used to monitor and manage all the devices connected to it. While these systems offer a high degree of convenience, they also open up the possibility of your home being hacked.
Hackers can gain access to your smart home system in several ways, including:
Through the central control panel
By exploiting vulnerabilities in the network
By gaining access to individual devices that are part of the system
By tricking you into downloading malicious software onto your devices
Once they have gained access, hackers can then do any number of things, including spying on you and your family, stealing sensitive information, disrupting your home’s operations and causing physical damage to your property.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your smart home from hackers.
4 Tips to Protect Your Smart Home
Secure the Wi-Fi:
Most routers utilize a model-specific name. Thus, they are either not secure at all or use general and default passwords like "password," "admin," or "12345678". By securing your Wi-Fi network, you make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your smart home system. Ensure you have a strong wifi password and don't use your name or house number as your service set identifier.
Update firmware regularly:
Firmware is low-level software that comes embedded in the hardware. All routers or the IoT devices you use for smart home systems come with firmware. The router company or the IoT device manufacturers keep rolling out new firmware versions with bug fixes and security patches. These security updates are mandatory to keep your system free from threats and attack vectors. Your system's setting should incorporate an auto-update option to update the firmware when connected to the internet.
Outdated hardware makes your system susceptible:
Often, we keep running old and outdated routers and sensors for our smart home devices. Because your internet's performance is not yet suffering, it does not mean your entire operation is free from flaws. Hardware companies regularly phase out old hardware products and stop rolling security patches and updates. Again, with the aging network devices and hardware, the security protocols and updates also age. It makes it easier for malicious actors to access vulnerable systems. So, experts and security professionals recommend updating the old hardware components to protect smart home systems from breaches.
Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA):
Strong passwords are a key marker of security. But what if the cybercriminal cracks your password through keylogging or social engineering attacks? To protect smart home systems from cybercriminals and prevent them from gaining access to your administrative panel, consider enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) on every device and application. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account. For example, you should give the password (first authentication factor) to authenticate your smart home system. Then the system will send an OTP link through SMS or email (second authentication factor). Once you verify that, you can gain access to your system. That is how two-factor or multi-factor authentication works.
Apart from all these security measures, you can also leverage other security measures like:
Keep monitoring the network for malicious activity
Disable features (from the admin dashboard) that you are not using
Split the entire network into various segments so that it becomes easy to recover and the attacker does not get a comprehensive view of it
For all the smart devices, disable or close the ports (logical) that are not in use
The world is getting more connected, and your home is an intricate part of this digital ecosystem. Malicious actors always look for a small opening to breach the security perimeter and wreak havoc. By taking a few preventive measures, you can keep your smart home safe and secure from prying eyes and protect your privacy.