Many of us will be gearing up for another stay-at-home summer – which might mean that your smart devices will be replacing your best friend’s spot on the patio for Sunday brunch. Whether you’re buying a new smart device or you already have a full posse of smart gadgets at home, it’s important that you protect them from cyber criminals.
Here are some simple steps that you can take for a stress-free summer with your smart devices:
Make sure your network is secured
Your home network is responsible for connecting all of your Wi-Fi enabled gadgets, like smart devices, to the internet and to each other. An easy way to keep your devices safe is to change your router’s default username and password to something unique that a cyber criminal wouldn’t be able to guess.
Smart devices often aren’t as secure as things like your phone or computer. We recommend creating a secondary network for your smart devices and your visitors to use. That way, if a cyber criminal hacked into your Wi-Fi through a smart device, they can’t access all of the connected devices on your network. By creating a guest network, you can keep your most important devices safe on your primary network and make it more difficult for a cyber criminal to steal your most sensitive information.
You should also remove any lost or unused Bluetooth devices from your network. This includes removing any paired Bluetooth devices. By disconnecting devices that you no longer use, you will reduce the opportunities for cyber criminals to steal your data.
Keep your software up to date
Updating your software is one of the easiest ways to stay secure – enabling automatic updates makes it worry-free. Software updates often contain important fixes, bug patches and security updates that can help your devices stay protected. Stay on top of regular updates by enabling them to run automatically. You can even choose the time of the day that you want updates to install so that they don’t interfere with your schedule.
Remember that if cyber criminals compromise your connected devices, they can access your home network and your information. That’s why it’s important to keep up with regular security measures, like updating your software, to ensure that they can’t take advantage of vulnerabilities on those devices.
Disable features that you aren’t using
Your smart devices have a ton of features that make your life easier – like microphones, cameras, Bluetooth and even geolocation. These features may seem innocent enough when they’re in use, but they could also make it easier for cyber criminals to steal from you.
To prevent cyber criminals from stealing your information, disable these features when you aren’t using them. For example, you can disable the microphone function on your smart speaker if you’re leaving the house for the day to run errands. You can even unplug any electronics that you aren’t actively using throughout the day and plug them back in when you need them to stay protected.
Don’t forget that exposure notification applications, like COVID Alert, need Bluetooth to be continuously enabled. Instead, you should consider removing any paired devices that are not in use.
It might take a while until we can see each other in person again – so for now, our devices are kind of our best friends. You may not be able to treat them to a tall glass of orange juice and a plate of French toast at 11AM on a Sunday, but you can say thanks by taking steps to keep them secured.