Protect Smart Devices: Five Tips to Keep Hackers Away
Finding ways to protect smart devices from hackers is critical today. After all, the ability to adjust the thermostat, switch on lights, check appliances and arm a security system from a smartphone is very appealing to those who appreciate managing their homes from afar. But the latest news about hackers using security cameras and video recorders to wreak havoc online should give you pause.
The hackers exploited vulnerabilities in video cameras and recorders manufactured by Dahua Technology Company. Dahua sells the equipment directly to consumers as well as companies that install surveillance systems. Froula Alarm does NOT use this brand of camera in the surveillance systems we install.
The latest hack affected numerous websites. The hackers bombarded these sites with millions of messages and data, causing the sites to shut down for extended periods of time.
While these attacks rarely affect individual devices, there is a possibility a hacker could gain access to your home or business through a vulnerable device connected to your smart phone. Use the following tips to protect smart devices and to reduce the risk of a hacker tampering with your smart phone or devices:
- Run anti-virus software. If you charge or connect your smartphone to a computer or laptop, use anti-virus software on a regular schedule to protect smart devices. Why? Your computer may be infected by an email attachment you opened or by a website you visited that downloaded malware to your computer without your knowledge. Infected computers may be more vulnerable to these types of attacks, so regular use of anti-virus software makes your devices less susceptible.
- Use a highly protected Wi-Fi router. Choose a router with a firewall for optimal security. This may require adding a firewall to the point where you router connects. Make sure to change the default password to something unique as soon as you get the router up and running.
- Upgrade software. Download the latest software, also referred to as firmware, for help protect smart devices. Visit manufacturer or seller’s websites to get the latest updates, as these typically include security patches that take care of known issues.
- Create unique passwords. Once you set up your device, do not continue to use the default password or PIN number that comes with the device. Instead, set up a new, unique password. This includes all devices such as video cameras and recorders used in your security system, whether at home or in a business. Don’t forget to change the password for thermostats, kitchen appliances, such as the coffeemaker, and home entertainment systems. Use a password manager to keep track of your unique passwords so you don’t have to remember each one.
- Buy new appliances and devices with password protection. Shop for programmable devices or appliances if you plan to connect them to your smartphone or an Internet connection. Make sure you are allowed to change the password.