How to protect your smart home: 5 useful tips

by Alice Woods - -

Smart home devices, including security cameras, alarm systems, baby monitors, and all other devices that depend on web portals and applications are becoming more popular and common. Smart-home industry is estimated to be worth about $21.6 billion by the year of 2020.

protect your home devices

Smart devices can be really convenient; however, internet connectivity can also cause security issues. Attackers can hack these devices easily and use them to their own benefit.

There is a range of hacking methods that are used in smart home attacks including signal interception, software loopholes, physical tampering, password cracking and malware attacks. This article will look at these attacks more closely and will provide some tips on how to prevent them.

1. Signal Interception

All the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi smart gadgets use wireless signals for communication. Attackers can potentially tap into these wireless signals and use them to gain control of the device. For example, security professionals proved that hackers are able to easily monitor home security cameras, even if they are professionally installed. It can be done by applying cheap and readily available software-defined radios (SDR) that are able to record unencrypted transmission from control pads and alarm sensors. After hackers capture these signals, they can get access to security cameras.

In order to protect your home security system, make sure to choose a well-known brand name system that emphasizes encryption.

2. Software loopholes

Many smart security machines provide open developer access. Even though there are a number of advantages to this access including convenience, more extensive functionality and others, there are disadvantages as well, such as security weakness.

Systems with the allowance to open a smart lock do not necessarily have security locked down. This type of security system has an open access for developers to create and distribute compatible apps. Some of these apps enable attackers to use easily breached loopholes.

In order to protect your devices while adding a smart lock, make sure to find a model of the device that controls third-party developer access. In addition to that, keep up to date with updates because they can help to patch holes in the code.

3. Physical tampering

High-tech security systems still have physical weaknesses that could be used in order to receive private digital data. As an example, let’s take the Ring Video Doorbell discovered by Pen Test Partners in 2016.

The setup button that creates Wi-Fi access can be hacked if criminals eliminate two screws and remove the Ring Video Doorbell from its installation bracket.

After pressing the setup button, the attacker gets access to the doorbell’s Wi-Fi network and can tap into the home’s network information, including name and password.

In order to prevent attacks like this, choose security systems that cannot be detached or moved simply. In addition, make sure to keep up with software updates.

4. Password cracking

A weak password enables hackers to get unauthorized access and potentially allows complete control of the device.

In 2015, a security company Rapif7 announced that many of the well-known branded baby monitors can be hacked easily due to their poor coding standards and default names and passwords.

These security breaches empower attackers to get access to the baby monitor and speak to children through it.

If you want to protect your baby monitor, make sure to create a strong password on the device and on your Wi-Fi network.

A strong password requires a minimum length of 15 characters including lowercase letters, capital letters, numerals and punctuation. The password shouldn’t be a normal word that can be found in a dictionary.

In addition, make sure to check the history log and who has access to the monitor; keep up with the manufacturer updates.

5. Malware attacks

Smart home gadgets with access to the Internet can enable hackers to infect your device for their own benefits.

Widespread Internet blackouts in 2016 were caused by the massive compromise of Internet of Things (IoT). Cybercriminals exploited malware to hit thousands of smart devices such as security cameras to shatter a firm which offered domain-name system (DNS) services, Dyn.

In the contemporary IoT age, these kind of attacks are estimated to increase because there are relevant vulnerabilities in the present regulations of the Internet.

In order to protect your smart devices and lower the risk of a malware infection, install a firewall on your network and keep updating the device’s network names. There are also security products for IoT device protection, such as Bitdefender Box or Norton Care.

By the year of 2020, it is estimated that there will be more that 25 billion smart devices. So, if you are using smart-home tech in your security strategy, make sure to protect your home network and its devices as much as possible.


About the author

Alice Woods
Alice Woods - Antivirus software analyst

Alice Woods is an anti-malware analyst at She is passionate about testing new pieces of software and discovering pros and cons of each program.

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