Think of your body, your nervous system, and how interconnected each aspect is to one another. Each part is equipped with an independent function but yet works together like a symphony, for the good of the body as a whole. Unfortunately, one infection to any part of that natural system may cause you to be sick for a while, depending on the seriousness of the infection, how quickly it spreads, and which part of the system is infected. This is the closest illustration of a modern smart home system. Your home is now your network. With the Internet of Things (IoT), many more devices and appliances within our homes, are being connected to the internet. Unfortunately, many of these appliances – from smart refrigerators and smart TV to coffee machines – were not build with security in mind.
"No one is going to keep their house unlocked. You need to think the same way about appliances in your network." J.D. Sherry, CRO at Remediant
It is a tempting and attractive idea to have everything in your home connected to the internet and it will soon become a necessity as we are evolving towards a more technology-driven society. But we need to remain mindful of the risks as J.D. Sherry, CRO at Remediant once warned "No one is going to keep their house unlocked. You need to think the same way about appliances in your network".
A lot of information about whom we talk to, our whereabouts, our online purchases, etc... can be found on our smartphones but luckily those devices have some security measures in place. But with wearables, for instance, your daily routine and patterns can easily be tracked by hackers. This not only brings risks to your person but also to your home, whenever you are away.
So what can one do to make sure that their home network is secure and not dismiss the benefits of smart homes?
As it will be nearly impossible for one to protect individual devices within our personal network – unless you are a computer whiz – let's rather focus on protecting the network itself.
First and foremost, separate your home and guest networks. By doing so, you can mitigate the risk of a third party (i.e. friends) being used as an accessory to hacking your network. Secure your home network with a passphrase (including special characters) rather than a password. Secondly, use a security-focused router. It will regularly scan for vulnerabilities and enable network segmentation, thus isolating riskier devices on a different virtual Local Area Network. Next, for more security, you could also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) combined with two-factor authentication. VPN technology creates strongly encrypted tunnels for each device on the network. So combining that powerful tool with two-factor authentication will guarantee a safer network environment. Lastly, be proactive about securing your data. Treat your information like your money. Every time an app asks to get access to your info, presume it was asking for access to your money. Also, make sure you get some security training, your livelihood depends on it.
As the battle for the best IoTs continues, the winners will be the ones that can provide both top-notch privacy and security to their customers.