It may not look like what was imagined in Back to the Future Part II (dehydrated Pizza Hut for dinner, fax machines all over the house or flying cars), but today we live in a world of smart tech. Many of us buy products specifically for making our homes smart. These automation products give us control over our homes, from remotely unlocking the front door to checking our phones to see who’s at the door. Smart homes provide great convenience for us, but something not mentioned in the movie, over 30 years ago – and often overlook today – is an important consideration: network security.
You may feel safer knowing you can check your doorbell camera when a package gets dropped off, but if you haven’t set up the best security for your devices, you can be at risk in a different way.
Creating a safe smart home means following these seven important home network security strategies:
- Set up a VPN on your router. Doing so protects all devices on your network without having to individually set them up with an app or download. Once you’ve done this, all traffic to and from your home network is encrypted. You might find it helpful to review our documentation on how to use Private Tunnel with DD-WRT to do this or use our 24/7 chat for further questions.
- Change defaults on the router. Make sure you have changed the default username and password for your router to something unique and specific to you. Don’t reuse the same password across multiple accounts either.
- Enable WPA2 encryption. Make sure all of your wireless devices are connecting through an encrypted network.
- Keep your router firmware updated. Check frequently for newer versions that will be released to address possible entryways into your secured network.
- Don’t access home devices on public WiFi without a VPN. If you check in on your home security camera or the status of a lock from public WiFi, your data can be exposed to anyone listening on that network. Make sure your mobile device goes through a VPN to encrypt your data going to and from the remote location, whether it’s at a coffee shop, hotel or airport.
- Be wary of selling old devices. If you sell a smart home device to someone else, understand that the new owner could recover your personal information stored on the device.
- Know which devices store data on a public cloud. Get educated about where and how your devices store information. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the level of privacy for each device.
“Whatever you do, you must not ignore the risk,” OpenVPN CEO Francis Dinha said in his Forbes Column on securing the internet of things. “As we move into an increasingly connected world, we must all take the responsibility to protect ourselves and our networks from attacks.”