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Is Your Home Cyber Secure? 9 Essential Security Upgrades

With so many people working from home, it’s more important than ever to protect your devices from hackers. There are now smart TVs, smart locks, and even smart coffee makers. Although they make life easier in many ways, they can also open your home to cyberattacks. Is your home cyber secure? Here are nine essential security upgrades you might want to implement.

First, the Basics

Before you look at the individual devices in your home, here are some things you can do to secure your overall network:

  • Admin: Change the default administrator password on your router or wireless access point. The administrator account allows you to change the settings on your wireless network, so create a strong password to prevent people from accessing it.

  • Firewall: Install a firewall on your Wi-Fi router.

  • Updates: Enable automatic firmware and software updates. Updates often fix known security issues.

  • VPN: Set up a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt the data coming and going from your home and hide your IP addresses.

With these security features in place, your home network will be much safer.

Devices You Need to Protect

Even if you take the above steps to safeguard your home, it’s still a good idea to upgrade your individual devices so they’re cyber secure, especially if you’re working remotely. Here are some home devices and appliances you should protect:

  1. Security Systems

Wireless security systems use radio waves to communicate between your cameras, sensors, and control panels. This is the type that’s most susceptible to hacking.

As with all devices, the first step in protecting it is to change the default password. If automatic updates aren’t enabled, manually update your security system’s firmware. Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), which is a remote access feature.

  1. Virtual Assistants

Also known as smart assistants, virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are becoming increasingly popular, but when they’re included in household devices, like smart speakers, they’re vulnerable to hacking just like anything else. Hackers can use lasers or ultrasonic waves to gain access to this type of device. If it’s connected to a home security system or contains credit card information, hackers might be able to access your house or spend your money.

Keep these devices away from windows so strangers can’t see them or point lasers directly at them. Use voice recognition so the device only responds to your voice. Turn off any contactless payment features and don’t connect the virtual assistant to everything in your house.

  1. Baby Monitors

If you’re using a Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor, it’s possible for someone to hack it. These types of attacks are rare, but it’s a good idea to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Create a strong password for your monitor. Disable UPnP, remote access, port forwarding, and Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS). Register your monitor with the product manufacturer so that if they issue a recall, you’ll know right away.

  1. Smart TVs

Hackers can use malware to access your television’s camera and microphone, allowing them to see and hear you. Your TV is probably connected to the internet through a router in your house, so make sure your router is secure with a VPN. Turn off the device when not in use and cover the camera with a piece of tape for added protection.

  1. Phones and Computers

Use a strong PIN or password to access your device. Install security software that allows you to track your device if someone steals it or it goes missing. Enable automatic updates and back up your data to the cloud so you can recover your photos and other information if your account is hacked.

  1. Garage Doors

Did you know that automatic garage doors can be hacked? This allows people to potentially get into your garage or house.

Burglars can hack first-generation garage doors by purchasing a transmitter and locating the code, but newer garage doors operate on a rolling code system, meaning a random code is generated every time the door is opened. The codes are chosen from billions of possible combinations and are never repeated. This makes them harder to hack.

Other tips for keeping your garage safe include installing security cameras, never leaving your garage remote in your car, and padlocking the garage door if you go on holiday.

  1. Webcams

Covering your webcam with a piece of tape or plastic cover is the simplest way to prevent someone from watching you through the camera. Additionally, you can install antivirus software that blocks hackers from putting viruses on your computer. Viruses are one of the most common ways hackers gain access to webcams.

You can also disable webcam access in your computer’s settings and only turn it on when you need to use the camera. If you have an external webcam, you can unplug it when you aren’t using it.

  1. Network Printers

Only printers connected to the internet can be hacked remotely, which was the case in 2018 when printers were hacked worldwide, printing documents that urged people to subscribe to the YouTuber PewDiePie. To prevent a stranger from accessing your printer, disconnect it from the internet. Change your default username and password and shut the printer off when you’re not using it.

  1. Smart Locks

This type of lock transmits signals via Wi-Fi to a smartphone or a special key fob to open a door. Users can send a virtual key to a recipient’s smartphone, allowing the recipient to unlock the door.

If a thief steals or hacks into your phone, they can unlock your door. It’s also possible for them to hack the lock over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Always keep your lock updated to fix any software bugs and install regular locks on another door in case the smart lock fails.

Upgrading Your Security

Is your home cyber secure? In an increasingly connected world, it’s especially important to shore up your defences against virtual attacks. By using these essential security upgrades, you can prevent your devices from being hacked and protect your data, your belongings, and yourself.

This article has been provided by Zachary Amos, a tech enthusiast working as the Features Editor for ReHack, where he writes about cybersecurity, smart homes and many other technology topics.

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