Cyberhood Watch >

If you're like millions of other people, you've got at least one or two smart home devices laying around. Did you know these devices pose real security risks? What can you do to secure them?

In this article

The advancement of technology in the past decade has been unprecedented. Our original expectations a smart home would provide where met in some ways and exceeded in others. We can now listen to a song by simply asking for it to be played, monitor our children and property, yet also have smart refrigerators.

With all these grand advancements has come with new threats and challenges with your cyber security. Is your smart device listening in and recording what you say? Have your security cameras been compromised allowing someone to observe your family without your knowledge? These possibilities have been the reality for some, but we will discuss what you can do to better protect yourself from this same fate.

How criminals hack smart homes

There are a few particular ways that thieves can sneak their way into your system such as joining onto your WiFi or finding an exploit through an app’s security on your phone. Smart home devices can unintentionally contain sensitive personal information such as credit card data, date of birth. A hacker can even hijack your device without you realizing, since it will appear to continue functioning normally but be quietly eavesdropping on you from behind the scenes.

Another way your personal information can become unintentionally accessible is through a corporate data breach. Hackers infiltrate a company, steal all their customers’ information, and either use it themselves or expose it on the dark web, selling it to the highest bidder.

Massive data breaches can compromise your credit card information, social security number, and whatever else they can get their hands on. With what was stolen they could simply start opening new credit cards, take out loans under your name, or impersonate you in a number of other sinister ways.

How to secure your WiFi

Whether you realize it or not, your home WiFi might be granting more access to your data than you prefer. By taking a few steps to secure it, you can strengthen this flaw in your security.

  1. Protect your private WiFi. Setting up a guest WiFi on a separate network can better protect your information. At times, though rare, friends or family could use the opportunity of being on your WiFi to compromise data. Creating a separate, guest, network prevents this.
  2. Ensure that your WiFi router has a strong password. A router’s default name often contains product information that a knowledgeable hacker can use to identify and exploit any known vulnerabilities that particular model might have. If your WiFi doesn’t contain a password, then you are allowing any and everyone who is within the routers strength to have direct, free access.
  3. Change your WiFi network’s default name. The default name can include insights that you don’t want to be made public, and a knowledgeable hacker can take what little information is displayed and capitalize on it.
  4. Switch your router to a WPA2 (or better) encryption. Other encryptions may not be as strong, allowing for others to break in easier. This is because your WPA2 network provides an unique encryption key for each wireless client that connects to it. To set this up you can go into your network setting, and you’ll see the option which lists the different kinds of connections. (WPA2, TKIP, WPA, or AES) There you can select which connection, and save that setting. You will need to confirm your network password as well, but once it is saved, your new connection will be active.


Understand that if you change your network connection type, or password, then all who are connected to the network will need the new password to get connected to the network again.

Device and app settings

You can control the amount of information that is shared between your smart devices. For example, on your bluetooth device app settings, you can go in and turn off certain data sharing information. One important feature to disable is to disable remote access authorization unless in use. This will create a much smaller window for attacks on your devices which further prevents them to be compromised.

For each smart device that is connected through your phone or WiFi, be sure to check your phone’s settings for the device. You will be able to see all the different options you can switch on or off. Be mindful of what is allowed to be “on” as these settings can be where your private information is more at risk.

Update your smart devices

Another important note is to always be mindful of keeping your devices up to date. Updates can carry vital protection on new security measures. If you’re running older software, cyber criminals can exploit the holes the older software contains into the app and device itself.

When prompted by your phone or device, always update it. If for whatever reason updates are turned off, usually you can manually check for updates and start them yourself; they take only a couple of minutes, but can make a world of difference.

How to enjoy greater peace of mind

Risks with your smart devices and WiFi exist, but the more precautions you take the better you can enjoy them with sound peace of mind. The cyber world is ever-changing as cyber criminals continually evolve to find new ways to exploit your information. Smart devices can be complicated, but managing them properly can create an all around improved experience.

iDefend’s device security support includes unlimited technical support and assistance configuring and managing your smart home. Let us know if we can help and give you the peace of mind you deserve.