How Can I Protect My Smart Home’s Network Devices?

You have set up your smart home, smartphone-controlled equipment, baby monitor, garage door and so on. So now you need much more protection than any conventional network security protocol.

There was a time when only tech guru billionaires like Bill Gates could live in a smart home, way before smart devices were even a thing. This kind of technology is accessible to pretty much anyone, which is fantastic but at the same time scary. You might be surprised to find out just how vulnerable your IoT network is. And unfortunately, you’re going to need something stronger than a standard IoT security solution. The kind you would find baked into the network on which you connect all your gadgets.

So what’s the solution?

The solution in this situation is not one thing, but multiple mini-solutions combined. By perfecting your approach towards defending your smart network, you can fend off any intruders and make sure that the information that goes through all of those devices remains personal and untouched. If you’re interested what exactly constitutes as a mini-solution, keep reading as we’re getting to that part right now.

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that you should try out free resources at your disposal. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean that it’s not right, so taking the time to install and use a  free IoT scanner can be very beneficial for your IoT network overall. With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at what you can do to secure your network.

Changing the network protocol

We’ve mentioned earlier how the security protocol alone wouldn’t be enough to call your IoT network “secured”. However, that doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about it. A defense system is only as strong as its weakest link and you need to make sure that your network is not using the WEP protocol, which is incredibly weak. Instead, you should update to the more reliable WPA2 protocol. This is the first step in a longer campaign towards bolstering your defenses. It’s important that the foundation or ground work before you can start tweaking other settings.

Remain Anonymous

Your network name might be a useful indicator for visiting friends and family that want to know which WiFi network they can connect to, but it can also be a bullseye on your safety for people that plan on breaching your security measures and hacking you. Remaining anonymous and giving your network a weird or ambiguous name will help you fly under the radar and thus be safer.

No guest access

The only way you can fully control who access your network is by taking active control of who actually gets to hop on it. Sure, your friends might not appreciate it but if them being a little grumpy about the military clearance level required to use your WiFi means you are safer and won’t have a breach of security, then so be it.

Split the duty

Having all your active smart devices on one network is dangerous no matter how well secured that network is. That’s because, in the eventuality of the system getting breached, the hackers get access to all of your devices. By splitting them up across two WiFi networks, you will not only reduce potential damage but also conceal the connection between devices on network 1 and devices on network 2. For this, your router needs to be able to work with more than one SSID, so if you’re out router shopping, keep that in mind.

Password upkeep

Setting a password then never touching it again is not how you keep your network safe. If you want to ensure the utmost level of security at all times, you need to switch between passwords. Set a time interval for password changes, so that you regularly implement new passwords. For example, after a set number of months, online banking systems ask users to change their password. This is to ensure protection.

Also make sure to set something complicated as your password, not something funny, cute, or clever. If it’s something easy to remember, it’s probably going to be easy to hack as well, as write it down somewhere if you must. Remember those annoying requirements for website registrations that would tell you that your password needed a capital letter, a lower case letter, a number, a Chinese proverb and all kinds of stuff? Well, that’s the approach that you should use. Unless you want your network hacked with brute force (that means they’ll just use dictionary word combinations until they hit the jackpot), make sure to give your networks unique, individual passwords that are impossible to guess from a logical standpoint.

Don’t underestimate the firewall

Make sure your network has a solid firewall solution. Installing a stalwart firewall can be done in some ways as there are multiple firewall sources out there. You probably have one that comes with your router. If not, you can get a third party appliance. A firewall is so important because it allows you to guard your ports, specifically your smart device ports.

Aside from the precise ports used to send data from one smart device in your network to another, all port access needs a block. This way you can protect yourself against network probing and deny hackers in yet another way.

A network that houses the entire connection between the devices making up a smart home is not easy to protect. However, it’s doable and making sure you keep these things in mind, you can count on high success rates. Just as if you would try to keep a rat out of your house, keeping hackers at bay is a matter of securing all entrances and making sure there’s no weak point for them to exploit. It’s also noteworthy that while the network itself plays a huge role in the protection of your smart home, tweaking the settings of each device and how it behaves also impacts the overall level of security.

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