Within the last 12 months, the hype around smart homes and buildings reached an incredible peak, leaving 50 percent of the overall population wanting at least one smart device in their homes. As smart home devices become more commonplace, so does the risk for Internet hacking, leaving your house vulnerable.
Internet Connectivity Opens the Door for Hackers
For decades, firewalls, anti-virus tools, and extra security have been regular terms whenever it came to the usage of a computer with an Internet connection. Who would have thought at this time that these terms were also applicable to the world of homes? No one, right? Well, probably by the time that every household started to have its own computer and internet connection, the imagination that one day, everyone would have even more powerful machines in their pockets (a.k.a. smartphones) and that even other devices, besides computers, would use the Internet for handy purposes, was more a vision. Nowadays, the visions have become reality, especially affecting home appliances. Same as with any other devices, which are connected to a network, smart homes need the same protection from unauthorized intruders.
Especially with the raise of the Internet of Thingsand the growing need to have almost every device at home connected to the internet opens countless doors to hackers. Technologies in general, but especially those connected to the Internet, are vulnerable to attacks and therefore need special protection.
Want to protect your smart home from Internet threats? Here are 10 easy but highly effective 10 tricks:
1. Fix all devices so that they cannot be removed
Sounds obvious, right? However, making your smart products difficult to tamper with and/or remove. Always make sure that devices are well hidden and if visible, that they are properly fixed to the wall. This makes it harder for hackers to get access to your installation.
2. Place devices in cabinets with limited access
Needless to say that once a network device is easily accessible, it is not difficult for the hacker to access the whole network. Therefore, all devices which control the smart home should be accessible only to authorized people, such as the systems integrator.
3. Mount outdoor devices at sufficient heights
Knowing that a house’s electronic door lock and alarm system is controlled by a bus technology makes it tempting for burglars with hacking experience to look for network access points on the outside. Easily accessible outdoor devices, such as presence detector and surveillance camera, which are connected to the same automation system, offer the best opportunities for that. So how can you protect these devices from easy access? As easy as it sounds, the effective solution is to mount the devices high enough for them not to be reached easily.
4. Special anti-theft screws
Smart light switches can provide access to a network; make them difficult to remove by installing them to the wall with special anti-theft screws.
5. Usage of binary inputs
However, should the switches, despite the fixed mounting and special anti-theft screws still be a security threat to the installation for any reason, there is a very simple trick to make the installation safe again: Binary inputs. Binary inputs allow the use of conventional switches, which are not directly connected to the home network. So even if the hacker would have access to the light switch, access to the actual network would still be missing.
6. Proper cabling
Now that all devices have been well secured and are hard to reach, another important aspect is the proper cabling. While power cords do not offer access to the network, loosely hanging or easily accessible cables do. Therefore, cable ends should not be visible.
7. Power Line Communication (PLC) – Electronic filters for encrypting messages
Although twisted pair cables are the most commonly used communication media, power lines allow the transmission of signals from one device to another. Although this might sound very techy, it is actually very simple: Use Electronic filters: These filters are used for incoming and outgoing signals, which do not only encrypt the signals but also limit them to one network.
8. Dedicated Ethernet network
Controlling your installation via Ethernet has many advantages, such as the ability to control devices remotely via with tablets and smartphones. This is convenient, but makes it very easy for unauthorized people to access your installation. Simple access to the Ethernet can therefore be a threat to the whole installation. Therefore, it’s always best to use a dedicated network for your home’s automation system.
9. Hot thing: Connection to the Internet
The Internet has evolved to an important part of a smart home. To protect it against hackers from the world wide web, it is necessary to protect the communication by means of a VPN connection, dedicated to automation system.
10. Be smart and study available information
Adding smart devices to your home can be fun, however, just jumping into the world home automation without thinking of security aspects is just adding fuel to the flames regarding the current discussions about safety. So before you start planning your installation make sure to also discuss with your home systems integrator his plans for ensuring protection from hackers.