Internet of Things vs. Home Automation

IoT (Internet of Things) describes a network of interconnected physical objects (smart devices) that collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention. For the purposes of this blog, IoT plainly refers to your home automation devices connected to your home Wi-Fi such as Amazon Echo, Ring Video Doorbell, Smart Plugs, etc. While IoT refers to the devices themselves, home automation is what you can do with the IoT devices. Follow this link for a more descriptive explanation of what home automation is, how it works, and its pros and cons.

Cyber Security can be a Smart Home Issue

Though utilizing home automation can make your life simpler, more organized, and eliminate day-to-day stress, it can also contribute to vulnerable cyber security in your home. If someone compromises your home automation, your data could easily be leaked. Unfortunately, a hacker only needs to enter one device connected to your home network to gain access to personal data.

Luckily there are several things you can do to fight back against cybercriminals and none of them involve costly upgrades. Below is a list of easy things that you can do to tighten up security for your home automation devices.

10 Ways To Make Your Smart Home More Secure

1. Update Your Router

In 2018, the VPNFilter malware infected more than a half-million routers in 50 countries. This caused many routers to become inoperable. Malware can compromise your router and steal important details like your passwords and other data.

Using an older router comes with its fair share of issues. Newer routers will have newer, more advanced technology that will keep your network and home automation devices more secure, giving you better control and coverage of your home. GigabitNow offers two gateway options, Core Fiber Gateway and GigabitNow Wi-Fi Plus. The GigabitNow Wi-Fi Plus gateway utilizes the newest Wi-Fi technology taking your Internet experience to the next level. Learn more about the Core Fiber Gateway and Gigabit Wi-Fi Plus Service.

2. Set-up a Guest Wi-Fi Network

It is common for guests to expect Internet access when they visit someone’s home. If your Wi-Fi network is not set-up correctly, it can leave you vulnerable to a variety of security threats. Even guests you’ve invited into your home who access your Wi-Fi network pose a potential security risk to your devices and data.

Most Wi-Fi routers give you the ability to create a guest Wi-Fi network. Unlike your main Wi-Fi network that you and the members of your household use, the guest Wi-Fi network restricts what your guests can do on your network. More specifically, visitors can only access your Internet connection and nothing more. They can’t see any of your devices and they don’t have the ability to access them. More importantly, they can’t accidentally introduce malware or compromise your devices or data in any other way. Learn more about guest Wi-Fi networks and why you need one.

3. Modify Your Passwords

Passwords need to be taken seriously! Whenever you get a new device, change the default password immediately. Otherwise, the password to your Wi-Fi router might be a Google search away. Remember to use unique, hard to guess passwords with at least eight characters, numbers and letters on all of your devices. And be sure to change your password periodically. A password manager like 1Password or LastPass can help you keep track of passwords used for all of your devices.

4. Fully Secure Your Network

Your router has settings that will help make your home network more secure. Most router devices offer a choice of three ways to secure your network: MAC Filtering, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and WPA2/WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Learn more about the three Wi-Fi security options to understand which is best for you to use.

5. Two-Factor Authentication

Though many of us can agree that two-factor authentication can be a frustrating tool, it can boost security for anyone using any kind of online service, from Google to FIFA 20.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a method of establishing access to an online account or computer system that requires the user to provide two different types of information. The most common authentication used today is the username/password pair. For two-factor authentication you will need to provide a password and then prove your identity some other way in order to gain access.

6. Stay Up-to-Date on Software Updates

Don’t ignore the next software update notification! Smart devices for your home often times have patches released for you to update your device. The patch release will have the latest update on information, security or fix that will improve how the device works.

7. Don't Manage Smart Devices from Public Wi-Fi Networks

It can be tempting to check in on your home automation device when you’re out and about running errands or meeting up with someone away from your home. Resist the temptation to check from an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.

8. Disable Unnecessary Features

If you are not utilizing a specific home automation device, it should be disabled. This should especially be done if you are away from home for an extended period of time. When a device is completely turned off there is no entry point for a hacker to enter the device and gain access to private information and data.

9. Use Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication has become increasingly popular over the last few years. This is mainly because identity management is usually harder to fake and is deemed more secure. Biometric authentication uses physical or behavioral characteristics like fingerprint, picture, or voice to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices and data.

10. Ensure Firewall and Security Software Is On

Last, but not least, you need to install an antivirus and security software and continue to update it overtime so that you are using the most current version. Ensuring that your firewall is turned on at all times is another easy security trick.

With so many options for keeping your home automation devices protected and safe from hackers, it is absolutely possible to take advantage of new technology and home automation without fear! GigabitNow Fullerton is here with awesomely fast, reliable fiber Internet speeds allowing you to use all of your home automation devices seamlessly today and tomorrow.

Published: January 13, 2021