A Master Plan For Your Smart Homes Security System

A Master Plan For Your Smart Homes Security System
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In the last couple of years, smart home devices have become significantly popular among homeowners, and the IoT plays a big role in that. Anything from lighting, heating systems, doorbells, CCTV solutions, and even kitchen appliances have turned into smart, IoT-connected devices that can enhance the quality of life and offer so much comfort. 

Of course, such growth has made smart home security systems a valuable target for hackers who want access to people’s most private data. So, since smart home devices are not going anywhere and security is paramount, you need a master plan. 

Before discussing the plan, let’s ask ourselves: What is smart home security?

What is Smart Home Security?

In a nutshell, smart home security uses a variety of IoT tools to help you remotely handle and track your home's safety. For instance, when using a smart door with complex locks, a smart home security system can control access to the lock and identify people trying to access it. This is a necessity as many home appliances may be exposed to attacks.

IoT devices may be compromised in less than five minutes after installation, according to one research. Another research found that some well-known smart home appliances had significant design defects that made them very susceptible to hacker attacks, data breaches, and break-ins. Smart home cyberattacks are avoidable, despite how widespread the dangers are. Consumer education, awareness, and thorough security procedures can all help to reduce risks.

Importance of Addressing Smart Home security concerns

By the end of 2025, there will likely be 478 million smart homes in the world. The ability to remotely safeguard residential properties using IoT devices is one of the most alluring features of smart home systems. Smart home security systems make it easy to safeguard houses from burglary, damage, and accidents, but they also run the danger of compromising the security of personal data.

Over the years, there have been many reports of attacks on typical smart home security systems. Hackers have on some occasions taken control of the lighting, TV, or worse, the IoT door security. In some cases, people have only found out about the attack when the hacker had already taken control of their security system.

Ensuring Smart Home Security

Of course, with the growing concerns over IoT device threats, there have been many ideas, protocols, and even standards to cover possible security holes and prepare your smart home security system for any attacks. Here are some pointers for safeguarding your smart home:

Isolating the Smart Home Network With Guest Networks

You can create a guest (or secondary) network on a lot of current routers. You may protect your primary network from IoT risks by setting up a secondary network just for your connected devices.

This requires that family members, friends, and visitors can sign in to a network unrelated to your connected devices. As a result, only authorized people have access to your smart home network.

IoT devices are kept separate by operating on a distinct network, so even if hackers were to break in, they would be unable to access any vital devices, like your computer or cellphone.

Keep Your Devices Up-To-Date

It's possible that the firmware on your Wi-Fi network won't automatically update. Updates like this typically feature crucial security fixes that can significantly improve the security of your smart home network. 

Therefore, be sure to manually check your device periodically, and if you discover any missing firmware updates, get them as soon as possible. Similar to this, a lot of IoT devices (and their applications) don't update regularly but rather notify you when a new version is ready. Once more, don't wait; update right away.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

You are already familiar with multi-factor authentication if you have ever used online banking. Multi-factor authentication, or 2FA, adds an additional degree of protection above a simple password. Every time anyone attempts to get into your smart home system using 2FA, they must submit an extra form of identity proof.

A one-time pin (OTP) or code is delivered to your email or cell so you can prove that you're the one accessing the smart home system. Many smart connected devices have 2FA as standard, but a few lack such features. In that scenario, you can use tools like Google Authenticator.

The Importance of Securing Smartphones

Your smartphone's security is crucial for numerous reasons. You can save data on it, but if the device is lost or stolen, you will lose the data as well. Also, it's possible that someone takes your private data directly from your cell phone or from websites you've visited online. We've compiled a list of tips to help make your smartphone as protected as it can be.

Utilizing Strong Passwords and Security Software

You need to lock your smartphone with a solid deadbolt, not a cheap lock. Password managers come in really handy in these situations. If you use a password manager, you won't need to keep track of a ton of different passwords or click the "Recover your password" on every login.

Even with the greatest technology, hackers fail to guess the random combinations that many password managers create. You can keep track of when you last updated your password using the password manager. A few password changes every year might help keep hackers away.

If your smartphone doesn't require numbers and unique characters, you can write a strong password without them. Use a password made up of at least five random words, separated by spaces, whenever you can. This is simpler to remember than a lengthy sequence of digits and symbols.

Using Firewalls and Updating Software Regularly

When hackers find weaknesses in your smartphone security, they act quickly. Regularly patching and upgrading device software and firmware can let you be much faster than them. Some software programs come with automatic updates, but to make sure that the most recent security precautions are in place, you need to manually upgrade the smartphone's security.

If your smartphone has an outdated OS that can no longer get software updates, you own an insecure system that might attract cyberattacks. Since you're using a device that impacts your smart home security, you need to get a new, secure phone as soon as possible.

Considerations for Using Public Wi-Fi

It's difficult to avoid utilizing public Wi-Fi when you're busy, on the go, and have to make a payment. Here's one example: you're in a Starbucks, so you hook your smartphone to their unguarded Wi-Fi network and use your phone to place an order. It’s almost unavoidable.

So, if you have to use it, make sure to follow several rules:

  1. Make sure the Wi-Fi network is legit.
  2. Do not enter or see private data.
  3. Hit “Forget” after you’re done.
  4. Get something like a VPN

If you have to access public Wi-Fi in this circumstance, download a VPN program for the smartphone. It keeps you anonymous online, allowing you to access open Wi-Fi while hiding from the eyes of snooping hackers.

How to Protect Every Smart IoT Device for Home Security

Your smart home is a futuristic marvel, but when cameras can be hacked to spy on us, microphones on smart speakers can be manipulated with lasers, and entire security systems can be compromised by a smart plug, it's understandable if you have reservations about connecting your house to the internet.

Changing Default Passwords Regularly

Changing your passwords is the most crucial step to secure your smart home gadgets. Millions of IoT devices are now utilizing the exact same user password since many people never update their standard passwords. With standard passwords, hackers may all too easily launch massive hits on all devices.

Every IoT device in your house should have its default password changed, and you should use a unique, complicated password for each one. Avoid trying to be hilarious and don't make it too easy. Also, don’t forget to use 2FA when possible.

Researching Security Protection of Devices Before Purchase

In order to not end up with a security risk, make sure the smart home devices you use feature safety measures. The majority of well-known brands shouldn't be problematic in this regard, but if you stumble upon a brand you're not familiar with, it pays to check for reviews from reliable sources.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) offers more security than wireless. PoE devices are far more difficult to get into than Wi-Fi connections since a hacker must break through the firewall first.

Once you've acquired a device, set aside some time every few weeks to check for updates. Also, despite the temptation to snooze (or dismiss) update reminders, you need to do them because you don't want to weaken your defense against various IoT threats.

Buying From Reputable Suppliers and Understanding Privacy Policies

Laws governing the security requirements of smart home devices are pretty limited. All businesses don't play by the same rules, and some take shortcuts to produce a lower-cost product, jeopardizing data security. 

That’s why you need to be clever and study the brand’s reputation and security policies before buying. This applies to finding IoT and IIot development services as well.

You can vet every brand by asking yourself several key questions:

  • Have the company's products caused massive data breaches? Stay away from that one.
  • Is the company providing regular automated security patches? Proactive maintenance is essential.
  • Is Edge Computing in the mix? Edge computing increases security by reducing the volume of sensitive data kept in the cloud and preventing hackers from intercepting data.
  • Has the company or any third-party affiliate performed penetration testing? They should consider all conceivable holes and entry points.
  • What are their privacy standards and protocols? Make sure the brand follows the PIPEDA, GDPR, and CCPA protocols, if applicable.

Keeping Devices Updated With Security Patches

Businesses provide fixes and improvements for IoT devices, and many of them will update instantly when connected to Wi-Fi. To guarantee that these updates happen, you need to register the device with the manufacturer.

Still, many devices still demand you manually choose the Update button in order to download the most recent features and security updates. Don't overlook these updates; doing so exposes your device to hackers attempting to take advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities.

If you're ready to accept the possible risks associated with automated downloads from outside servers, you may set your device to periodically update. If not, setting a reminder to periodically check for updates is the best choice.

Balancing Convenience and Security in Smart Homes

If your smart home is centralized, you can handle all of your connected devices using a single platform or app offered by your ISP or another service provider. This provides a uniform and user-friendly interface for operating your smart home, but it might also have some disadvantages.

Trusting a third-party supplier with your data might put you in more danger since you'll need to keep track of any data breaches or indications of abuse from that organization as well. With a third-party provider, it’s better to have more control over security details because you don’t want to be blindsided by any unforeseen IoT threats that the third-party company did not check.

However, operating your smart home directly with an interface like Home Assistant can be easier while giving you more control because you aren't reliant on a single supplier and can pick the devices you want and move to another system if necessary. Plus, you have total power over the security options on your devices, which lowers the chance of data leaks and hacks.

Security Implications of Smart Devices in Your Home

Many home automation software solutions have been offered for almost every part of daily life, including TVs, washing machines, and other appliances. Here are some of the most popular examples:

The Front Door

Since crime and robberies can sadly happen to anybody, IoT lock systems are an essential requirement these days. One of the most appealing features of these locks is that you're able to secure the door from everywhere with an app.

Smart locks allow you to enter the house before getting out of the vehicle. By enabling customers to open their homes from their offices to let friends or family inside or to just check if they have really locked the door, IoT locks provide much more direct access.

The Heating System

Smart heating solutions are an excellent method to prevent your home's heating costs from skyrocketing. Many smart heating systems allow you to save money in some places by tracking your consumption and alerting users. After a long day at work, it's pleasant to use an app on your phone to quickly turn on the heat in your apartment.

If you want to add an extra layer of protection to your smart heating system, you can use ones that feature smoke detectors or security feeds.

The Garden

Many people entirely overlook the possibility that some gadgets, used for simple purposes, can be installed outside the house. Connected sprinkler solutions and lawnmower robots are just two examples of such IoT systems in your smart home.

The intriguing aspect of smart gardening systems is that, based on the information about weather patterns gathered, they may dynamically increase or reduce water flow. This function makes it much easier to effectively manage soil humidity and water waste.

The Kitchen

Different types of smart kitchen equipment are available from brands like LG and Bosch. Washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and even toasters can serve as connected devices in your kitchen. For instance, LG has made a series of smart refrigerators that can monitor expiration dates and draft a shopping list.

The Bathroom

IoT technology could boost the simplicity and fun of your regular activities in the toilet. Smart mirrors may connect to other devices like phones, recognize your face and offer relevant information such as news feeds and weather reports.

Sophisticated sensors can detect motion and turn off the water immediately if no one is using the restroom. Smart shower settings may also identify individuals and figure out their favorite water temp and pressure preferences, or put a clock on shower sessions in order to conserve water.

Future of smart homes

So, it’s all evident that the IoT will continue to grow and develop more in our daily lives. Smart homes will become a regular phenomenon in the coming years, thanks to many breakthroughs in AI, ML, and sensor solutions that make it possible to understand user behavior and change device performance based on their liking.

With such massive potential for interoperability and automation, we’ll face a massive supply of IoT devices, which makes security and privacy a top priority for smart home users. The market is up for grabs and it belongs to those who can find a reliable team of IoT development experts that can help them create a scalable solution. 

We at Lanars do that for many clients, and we can do that for you too. Just get in touch and let’s get going.