Don’t Let Hackers Ruin Your Holidays – Secure Your Smart Home
While Holidays are the most wonderful time of year for many, it’s also one of the busiest times of the year for cyberhackers. With millions and millions of people online shopping more than ever and feeling more relaxed than usual, it’s the perfect setting for cybercriminals to swoop in and take advantage of people’s good moods and online accounts.
Added to this is that it’s now commonplace for homes to have a smart speaker, smart television, security cameras, and even a smart doorbell, there are now even more points of entry for the bad guys to get into.
However, before you panic, we’re here to help. You can take simple steps to secure your smart home and prevent hackers from ruining our holidays. Let’s look at them in more detail below.
1. Set Up Your Router Correctly
Your WiFi router is the front door for all your smart devices. Just like your home’s front door that is correctly and securely fitted, your router needs to be as well. There are a few steps you need to follow to have it set up correctly, these are:
A. Change the Default Name
Every router is preset with a default name; it’s normally just the make and model of the router you’re using. Sometimes, routers come with standard login details based on the make and model which hackers can find.
Change the name to something else but keep it creative and not personal to you, i.e., nothing to do with your name, home address, etc.
B. Reset the Password
Like with the name, your preset password needs to be changed asap. While you can choose any password you want, it’s always best to use something unique. Go for a password that isn’t associated with any accounts you already have and incorporate numbers and special characters to strengthen it.
C. Choose the Highest Encryption Level
Right now, the highest level of encryption is WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access 2). This level of encryption is used to secure WiFi networks and prevent your router from being hacked. If your router only supports WPA or WEP then you need to think about upgrading. Home routers are the number one way that cybercriminals are accessing people’s smart devices and spying on their homes.
2. Create Strong Passwords for Everything
Your smart devices will usually be controlled by an app that needs a login. Now is the time to change all your passwords and create a new, strong, unique password for each one. All your devices need to be secure, not just your router.
Consider using a password manager that way, you can have great passwords without worrying about remembering them. For even more security, take the time to change the passwords on your Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc.
This is just another area that could be compromised, and if your accounts are hacked, it can be incredibly stressful trying to rectify the problem.
3. Disable Unused Features
All devices will come with features that you won’t use. For example, most smart TVs have voice control which most people don’t even realize is an option. Speakers come with Bluetooth that is on by default. Your smart fridge may even have remote access that you’ll never need in your life.
Keeping these features on if you don’t use them could create more issues for you. Check out the features of each device and disable the ones that you know you will never use or need.
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security step that requires your permission before the process in question is completed.
For example, if you have two-factor authentication for your bank, you’ll receive a notification/SMS/email asking to confirm it’s you anytime a purchase is made. That way, fraudsters can’t make payments without you knowing about it, and you can stop them before they complete the transaction.
This security step is now available for most things, banking payments, logging into accounts, setting new passwords, changing usernames, and so much more.
However, it doesn’t normally come as default. Rather you’ll need to check your accounts individually and manually turn this on.
5. Protect Gaming Hardware
Since more than 50% of all households have at least one gaming device such as a Playstation or Xbox, it’s likely your home will have one, too. And since these devices must connect to the internet to be played, they can also be at risk of hacking.
But, we have some quick solutions for you to protect your gaming hardware whenever you play.
A. Use a VPN
Connecting to a private network while you play will keep your personal network completely safe. So, before you start your gameplay, you’ll need to turn on an Xbox VPN or one for whichever device you’re using. This will ensure your network is secure and your private data cannot be compromised. A trusted Playstation or Xbox VPN is the perfect solution to safe gaming.
B. Keep Your Device Updated
Your device will need regular updates, and if these are set to run automatically, it can be easy to fall behind. Updates are there to patch errors, fix bugs, and increase security so check your device regularly.
Secure Your Home Now
When it comes to cyberattacks, It’s easy to fall into the mentality of “It’ll never happen to me”. Until it happens to you. Unfortunately, in a world so connected, anyone can become a victim, which is why it’s essential you are always one step ahead.
But the good news is that staying safe is easier than ever to do. Just putting into practice simple steps such as setting up your router correctly, using strong passwords for your home devices, and connecting to a Playstation or Xbox VPN before playing are among the best things you can do.
While cyberattacks are increasing each year, you can sleep better knowing you’re doing everything you can to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.