You may not know it, but the electronics embedded in your smart appliances provide an easy place for cybercriminals to breach the security of your home network. Cyber thieves don’t need computers to access your most vital data, instead, they may use robot networks or botnets within your appliances. Botnet malware can attack your smart appliance and you may not even realize it. Connected appliances such as thermostats, pet feeders, refrigerators, and many others can become hosts to a botnet that can be used by hackers. Here’s how you can protect your smart appliances from this cyber threat and other types of malware.
1. Switch Up the Default Password
Quite a number of smart appliances come with default passwords straight from the manufacturers. If you don’t change these passwords on your own, you may expose these appliances to cybercriminals. Therefore, you should change all default passwords on your newly acquired smart devices before you integrate the technology into them. Make sure your new passwords are unique to every device to prevent hackers from gaining access to multiple devices.
Follow these steps to create a less breachable password:
- Make your passwords a little longer than the usual eight characters
- Come up with passwords that aren’t related to your kids’ names, pets, or other common combinations
- Use a password generator to have random combinations in your new passwords
- Take advantage of a password manager to make it easy for you to remember different passwords
2. Turn Off Unused Features
There’s a tendency for some smart tech companies to invasively record data from the end-users of their smart devices without consent. Also, similar companies ship their goods to consumers with unknown hidden features like microphones, cameras, and many others. If you plan to purchase any smart appliances, you must seriously consider their cybersecurity.
For instance, your voice assistant may not record you most of the time, but it’s likely to be triggered by phrases or words mentioned in a conversation by anyone close or related to you. Ensure that you disable less important features on your smart devices to prevent any unauthorized person from remotely accessing your data.
3. Upgrade Your Smart Appliances
Check your smart appliances and find out when you bought them. If your devices are a little bit older, rest assured that the current software updates won’t be compatible with their operating system. So, you may have to upgrade them to improve their security features.
The main purpose of upgrading your devices is to prevent security breaches. Once upgraded, your smart appliances will have new security features, and also experience fewer malfunctions than previous versions of the software that might have been less stable.
4. Limit Smart Appliance Usage
While this is almost impossible in the present-day business world, you may consider limiting your use of certain devices to enhance security and privacy. In this case, you can only use smart appliances that are necessary and discard the rest, or use them when it is very necessary.
5. Consider Using a VPN
Upgrade to a virtual private network (VPN) if you have any concerns about your smart appliances’ security. A VPN creates a reliable and secure closed system for internet connection, which may include public ones. For the sake of your smart appliances’ security, you may use a VPN to create encrypted connections to other smart devices.
Smart appliances are cool, but they have security vulnerabilities that are important to be aware of. The above-mentioned best practices can help keep your data secure and your smart appliances safe.