5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Smart Home From Being Hacked – The New York Times

Smart-home devices are capable of some serious sorcery—turning on your lights based on the daylight, tweaking the temperature in your home using weather trends, and even spotting package deliveries before UPS even rings a bell. However, when it comes to ensuring they’re protected from the reach of potential hackers, many smart devices still aren’t quite the set-it-and-forget-it gadgets many people assume them to be. Just as you may need to take steps to get the most from your smart devices, ensuring that your smart lights, thermostats, cameras, and the rest are protected against an attack requires a few minutes of extra effort (we promise it won’t hurt).

Before you go running off to fiddle with advanced settings, take a few minutes to follow these easy steps, all of which you can do quickly and easily, to properly secure your smart home.

Password-protect your Wi-Fi network

Why it’s smart: Your home network has one password that lets you access the settings for your Wi-Fi router (the device that controls your home’s internet network) and one password that lets you join the Wi-Fi network. Many routers come with default passwords for both of those and usually have them plastered on the side or bottom to make it handy for setup. Always change these default passwords to new ones that are impossible for someone to guess; that is the absolute minimum step you can take to protect your network. Doing so ensures that the many lists of compromised passwords that get passed around among hackers don’t include yours (or that your neighbor won’t glom off your Wi-Fi network and potentially have access to your security-camera feeds).

How to do it: Most modern routers or modems prompt you to create your own logins when you first set up your new network. If you haven’t done that already, do it as soon as possible. Be sure to use passwords that are at least eight characters, hard to crack (not a real word, so not your childhood-street-pets-porn-name), and unique (not used elsewhere). Your router and Wi-Fi network should have two separate passwords.

If you’re worried about how to create strong passwords that you’ll be able to remember, we strongly recommend investing in a low-cost service called a password manager. Both iOS and Android devices have one built-in, but our top pick is 1Password, which invents strong, random passwords and securely stores them (as well as loads of other critical digital info, if you want) but also keeps them easily accessible across all your devices so you only ever have to remember one password to unlock all your others.

Virtually segregate your smart devices

Why it’s smart: Many home internet routers allow you to sprout a second (guest) Wi-Fi network, which is safely walled off from your main Wi-Fi network. You can use that secondary network as a place to quarantine all of your smart gear so that it lives completely separate from your various computing devices. This way, in the rare chance someone unwanted gains access to your smart devices, the personal data on your laptop, tablet, and so on will remain isolated and safe.

How to do it: To create a new network using your home router, you need to log into your router’s settings through a web browser or an app, if you have one. There you’ll typically find an option to create a guest …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/protect-your-smart-home-from-hackers/

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