Technology 101: Three Ways to Protect Your Internet-Connected Homes

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Today, with the advancement of technology, home security has been taken to new heights that were not quite possible before. With the advent of smart homes and fast internet, we are now given a unique leverage in controlling our homes and monitoring whatever is happening within regardless of where we might be in the world. From smart thermostats like the Nest to having security cameras perpetually on, we are finally living in an age wherein almost everything is possible with the click of a finger. Year after year, new developments in technology give homeowners more and more smart appliances and home gadgets which they can connect to the internet. A hallmark feature is remote monitoring but other notable characteristics are directed towards home optimization and saving money and energy.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” –Arthur Clarke

Unfortunately, much like anything that is anything connected to the Internet, there is a very likely chance of your gadgets being hacked. You might tend to overlook this, but devices that are perpetually connected to the Internet such as NAS devices, TV’s, thermostats and even kitchen appliances pass data to and from the internet on a regular basis. As a consequence, they too would be vulnerable to online hacking. If you wish to protect yourself and your home, here are some of the precautions you should bear in mind before installing them in your homes:

  1. Do not connect your appliances to the internet sans a firewall

Anyone in possession of various devices connected to it will think it is incredibly unthinkable to simply connect without any sort of security being put up. In this regard, most users would use routers at home that would act as a firewall by performing network address translation. This allows the router to filter the traffic and drop those that are malicious, unwanted or unexpected. Seeing as many of us could not even imagine connecting our computers to the Internet without a semblance of security serving as a buffer to any malevolent viruses online, there is no reason we should not apply the same sentiments to our appliances. Sure, it may not store sensitive information, but it is in your home network and that is reason enough to keep it secure. Your router’s firewall should serve as a safety measure against any malware—regardless of how diminutive or inconsequential the device in question you think might be.

  1. Check for firmware and security updates. Do it regularly

Before setting up any new internet-connected device or appliance, you should check for any firmware updates. If it has been sitting inside the box for quite some time, there is a very likely chance that it comes with obsolete software and would require an update. These updates are essential as they often offer security updates and improvements on the features. Furthermore, it may even contain critical patches necessary for using it safely online. Check the manufacturer’s website and see if there are any updates to your device. Do this regularly to ensure you have the latest patch or update.

  1. Secure your home network

Your home network is first and foremost, your bulwark to any malicious data and malware online. Keeping your devices secure behind a firewall or behind your router will only work if your home network is secure otherwise, all your security endeavors would be all for naught. Familiarize yourself with how your home network works, set it up properly and ensure that your router’s security settings are up to par. Configure it correctly otherwise, the devices you are trying to protect from the rest of the internet would not have much protection.

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