How to protect your home from hackers!
While the “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices and the smart home market continue to be one of the fastest growing technology sectors of the internet—at the same time, the hacking of smart home devices is real, malicious and also growing.
Look at this! Kaylie Gyarmathy is the Marketing Manager for vXchnge, and as such, does the coordination and logistics of tradeshows, events, marketing, brand promotion and writing for the company. In an article she published for them in September of 2018, entitled: “5 IoT Statistics You Need to Know in 2019”, she brilliantly outlines a message we need to know about and clearly understand:
5 “Internet of things” Statistics you need to know in 2019:
1 – There will be 20.4 Billion INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) devices by 2020
2 – BY 2020, 90% OF AUTOMOBILES WILL BE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
3 – COMPANIES WILL INVEST $15 TRILLION IN BETWEEN 2017 & 2025
4 – EVERY SECOND, ANOTHER 127 DEVICES ARE CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET
5 – INDUSTRIAL IOT DEVICES ARE EXPECTED TO ADD $14 TRILLION TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY BY 2030
In her article, Kaylie helps us to understand how large some of these figures actually are: “For context, take a moment to look at the difference between 1 million and 1 billion in terms of time:
One million seconds is roughly equal to 11.5 days.
One billion seconds is roughly equal to 31.75 years.”
HOW DO HACKERS DO WHAT THEY DO?
As the Internet of Things and Smart Homes continue their staggering growth—so have the hackers increased their malicious and malevolent ventures into the heart of your home.
EVERYTHING from your garage door, to your TV, your smart refrigerator with it’s 4 interior cameras, your light bulbs and your patio camera are all interconnected and available to hackers.
According to statista, The Statistics Portal, by the end of 2019, there will be 42.2 million smart homes in the United States. The hackers are busy!
Keep Your Smart Home Safe & Secure,
Here is my list of tips. Each item on the list will help you understand what hackers do and how how to make and keep your smart home safe and secure.
Never Use Public WiFi
Hackers access your devices via WiFi in airports, restaurants and fast-food shops. There are some safe alternatives out there like wireless hot spots, and VPN services. But always carefully vet the one you choose, making sure it is secure and safe.
Use of Phishing Scams
Here they are after user names and passwords, posing as a bank, credit union or some other legitimate establishment. This may be done by email or phone and they are clever and insidious. Do not give out any personal information to anyone.
Failure to Complete Updates
All of us have done this. You get a popup to update your browser, a program you use now and then or some other necessary software update, sometimes having to do with security measures—you push it aside and click “download later” . In doing so, you have opened yourself up to hackers and their dangerous malware.
Any software update is there for good reason, ignoring it could be costly.
Lack of malware and anti-virus Protection
Have up-to-date, anti-virus and anti-malware programs on all your devices that use the internet. Without them is “a guarantee you will get hacked.” Use only services that are well-known, or those recommended and vetted by security professionals.
I use a program called Malwarebytes Premium—but more well-known services like Norton and McAfee are excellent choices.
Don’t Keep Your Devices Together On The Same Network
This will reduce the risk of hacking across devices.
Purchase a separate internet connection or use a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN). This will break the network into segments, compartmentalizing the traffic so that if 1 device is compromised, the others will be safe.
Do Not Use the Usernames or Passwords That Come With Your Devices
Most new devices will come with default usernames and passwords—change them. Hackers have internet sources where they can get and use them for hacking. Rewrite each of them using varied numbers, symbols, and capitalizations.
Passwords Misused or Not Used At All—Create Them Right
To avoid omissions or mistakes, carefully follow each of these steps:
- Never use the default password that may come with a device. Change it.
- Every password you have must be totally unpredictable. A good hacker uses a sophisticated software program that runs through massive databases of passwords with random combinations of numbers and characters—eventually he will find yours.
- Make your password very long, at least 12 to 14 characters. As the internet continues to grow, the more the better.
- Do not use names, words or a common phrase from history, the Bible, Shakespeare, your son’s birthday or the phrase on your favorite coffee mug. It is likely that millions of others have chosen the same name, words or phrase and the hackers will soon be successful again.
- Your password should be strong—with numbers, letters, keyboard characters and assorted caps and lower case, all scattered randomly.
- Never use a password or parts of a password twice—don’t do it.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- To help you with this monumental task consider using a Password Manager. “Lastpass” and “Dashlane” are reputable choices where you can store all your passwords safely and you will only have to commit to memory one password to access the program. They have free options.
Never Use An Unknown Device On Your Internet
Hackers will sometimes leave a thumb drive on the ground outside a public WiFi, frequented office building or home, knowing that 50% of people will pick it up, take it home and plug it into their computer just to see what’s there and “Bingo!” Their computer is now hacked.
Someone has said, “It’s like picking up chewed chewing gum on the sidewalk, and chewing it!”
Make Sure That All Signals and Controls Are Encrypted
It would be well to check before you buy—ask especially if cameras or video controls are encrypted.
Download A Network Firewall
This will, up front, prevent unauthorized access to your home security system.
Hide Your Router and Its Network
Hackers can’t break into what they cannot find. Use your wireless router’s settings, secured with a very strong password, to make your home automation network separate from your other devices, therefore invisible from automatic searching. Be sure to change the password when installed—do not use the default password.
Automatic firmware update from the router brand, will from time to time deliver basic security patches to the router.
Watch and Manage Your Camera Settings
If you can see what’s going on at home, when you are away from home, so can a hacker, scary, isn’t it?
Guard your home and your interconnected system with a strong password. And, while it’s your choice, most experts suggest that you avoid monitoring your living room, great room and all bedrooms.
Double Check Your Camera Logs
Several of the better security cameras can show you the IP address of the hacker that accessed your cameras. If you find one with such an address even if you are suspicious of something on your log, immediately change your access codes. Then report it to the proper authorities. ,
Finally, Secure Your Smart Phone
Never log into your phone’s access to your home security system in public. Someone nearby could be waiting to snatch your password.
You should install a Track App in case you misplace or lose your phone. Your phone can also be secured with your finger print. I have done this on my phone and the password for it is only known to me. It is not written down anywhere.
Should you loose your phone, immediately remove your phone’s access to your security system, and report the loss to the authorities.
If you are managing or monitoring your home—
ALWAYS protect your phone!
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The Key to your home Security
and your family Safety is in your hands!
Use it—don’t lose it!