Protecting your house with IoT devices

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Brennan Sisco October 29, 2019

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IoT Devices Within Your Home

Defined as “the networking capability that allows information to be sent to and received from objects and devices (such as fixtures and kitchen appliances) using the Internet,” the Internet of Things has become a prominent part of modern society. From home security systems, to thermostats, to practically any hands-free item, this aspect of life surrounds each and every one of us – sometimes without our knowledge. Let’s dive into how your household objects are interconnected within this world known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible.

 

Devices in Action

Take Nest as an example. As a brand of smart home products ranging from thermostats and smoke detectors all the way to doorbells and smart locks for security systems, Nest is IoT in its complete form. It is hands-free internet usage that allows you, from practically anywhere, to control the technology within your home. Say you and your family decide to embark on a week-long vacation. First, make sure the Wi-Fi you’re using is safe. Next, instead of having someone come over to turn your lights on and off at certain times of day, and checking your house is locked at all times, can use your handy Nest items. From the airport or taxi you’re able to check who’s at your front door, lock your house, turn on the security system, and make sure certain lights are on/off, all from your cell phone (or computer).

How does this work, you may ask? In reality, it’s quite simple. These devices are specifically created for hands-free use. They require a secondary technology/internet source to transfer data and information to in order to get the specific task done. Not sure if the person knocking on your front door is the UPS delivery man or someone to be concerned about? Open your app and turn on the camera to see the individual(s). Scared you might have left your house alarm off during a weekend soccer tournament? Don’t stress! Just click the app and check, and if it’s not, there’s no need to drive all the way home; instead, just put it on using your phone. Simple, quick, and intercontinental.

 

Staying Safe & Secure

Not sure how to keep yourself safe in light of hackers that can possibly tap into your home security systems, thermostats, or even lighting? Don’t fear – that’s what we’re here to help with!

For cyber criminals, it’s easy to tap into your IoT device through the simplest of items, such as your router. Follow these steps to quickly fight off these individuals, and make your home life more safe.

  1. Create a specific name for your router. While the manufacturer will give it a name, that name sometimes gives away the model of your router – which tech-savvy criminals can tap into. Instead, create a unique, unidentifiable name that won’t give out personal information
  2. Use a strong encryption method, such as WPA2 (Short for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2), to keep your network more secure and less likely to get tapped into by an outside source.
  3. Set up a guest network for visitors, rather than giving out your secure Wi-Fi information. This creates another layer of protection between your devices and others’.
  4. Don’t use default usernames and passwords, but rather create unique ones that are strong and unidentifiable by an outside source.
  5. Check the default settings on your IoT device to make sure they’re set up to your liking, rather than that of the manufacturer. This also means turning off/disabling any settings you might not find necessary for your device.
  6. Keep your device up to date. Updates address bugs and vulnerabilities that may affect the security of your device.

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