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nj prevent smart home hacking

The popularity of smart homes is undeniable. As millennials enter into the home market, they are looking for smart homes, including New Jersey homes. According to an article found on Forbes.com, most millennials have either already purchased a smart home or are interested in doing so. 

Whether you already own a smart home or you’re looking to upgrade your current NJ home with smart features, it’s important to understand what you’re getting into. Just with any new technology, smart home features are ripe for hacking. According to an article from CNBC.com, hackers tool over 100,000 devices and used them to block traffic to websites, such as Twitter and Netflix in October of 2016. This is just one way they can hack into your smart home and use it for something bad.  

Hackers get smarter every single time a new device comes out. While smart home features were not really hacked much, at first, the widespread growth of smart homes has made them a target. Here are some of the ways you can prevent your smart home from being hacked. 

Start with the Basics 

There are four basic things you need to do with smart home devices to ensure you have the basic level of protection from hackers.  

  1. Change the username and password form the original factory settings the device came from.
  2. Use long and difficult passwords including a capital letter, a number and a symbol, if possible.
  3. Avoid using any public Wi-Fi connection to access your smart home when you are not at home. Public Wi-Fi is vulnerable to hackers and it’s easier for a man-in-the-middle attack to happen when you’re on public Wi-Fi.
  4. Update your smart home devices whenever they call for an update. You want to make sure you’re using the latest software updates as many updates will increase the security of the device.

These are just four of the very basic steps NJ residents need to take to keep hackers out of your smart home devices. Make sure you do all four and don’t neglect a single one. Need help? Give us a call: 973-335-3931.

Use Malware Protection

Another step you should take to help protect your smart home is malware protection. This is a common protection used for computers and phones and it’s vital to protecting you when you’re accessing your home from a phone, tablet or computer remotely. 

Getting malware protection with a built-in firewall is best as it will help to protect you from hackers. In addition, if the software includes virus protection, that’s even better. 

Set Up a Separate Network for Smart Home Devices

You probably have a network for your home computer and maybe you use it for your smartphones, as well. This network should not be used for your smart home features. Instead, segregate the internet connections used for your smart home devices and your other devices. This will help to protect you better as a hacker cannot get into your phone or computer, and then use that door to get into your smart home devices.  

If this is something you don’t think you can do on your own, an IT company or IT service should be able to help you. 

Don’t Use Unknown Devices

It seems like common sense, but hackers still use this trick because it still works. Don’t pick up any unknown CDs or USB drives and put them into your computer. This could be the gateway a hacker was waiting for and it may be their way in. 

Letting curiosity get the best of you isn’t something you should do. Believe it or not, Google released a study that showed nearly half of those surveyed would plug in a memory stick they found. This study also included the University of Michigan and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  

Use Multifactor Authentication

One of the best ways to protect your smart home from hackers is to use multifactor authentication. This will protect you better than choosing a difficult password. You can use an extra level of protection, such as a one-time code sent to your phone, a security key or something else. This is common for many websites and you can usually opt for two-step authentication under the settings area of an account. 

When you use two-step authentication, it stops hackers even if they get your username and password. This means they are less likely to access your email or any other information even if they do get into your computer. 

Protect Your Wi-Fi Network

Have you ever pulled up a list of Wi-Fi networks and thought the FBI was outside your door? One of the networks that popped up was likely named FBI Surveillance Van or something like that and you thought it was real.  

This is a great way to keep your Wi-Fi network secret. You don’t have to name it after the FBI, but don’t name it your house or your address or your name. Give it some obscure name so that it’s harder for hackers to use social-engineering to get into your life. 

Along with this trick, you should always secure your wireless network, disable guest network access entirely, change the password often and add a firewall to your network. 

Install a UTM

A UTM is a Unified Threat Management Appliance, which you can use to protect your highly-connected smart home. It will help by handling the prevention and detection of an intrusion, along with managing the internet gateway and providing you with antivirus protection. With a good UTM, you will have countermeasures and signatures to stop common network entry points from hackers and help detect them before they get in. 

In the age of technology, it’s important to stay protected. You want to make your NJ home more convenient by adding smart home features, but you need to make sure these features are protected. Use the steps above to keep from getting hacked and remember, the harder you make it for a hacker, the more likely they will move on to someone or something else and leave you alone. 

Give us a call to learn more: 973-335-3931.

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