With the advent of the Internet, designing a smart home becomes easy. This improvement in technology not only makes the home secure but also increases the comfort and quality of life. Homeowners also gain better control functions within their home and even save money from the usage monitoring of their devices. Home automation system do provide creative solutions and opportunities to make life feel better.

These smart devices you are using communicate, send you information and follow your commands by using technology. Specifically, the Internet of things (IoT) allows the internet connection and remote management of mobile appliances using different sensors. Simply, there’s computer intelligence embedded into your home devices. And the bad news is with the Internet controlling things, hackers can easily gain access to your smart home systems. This may be due to user error, inadequate security protocols or outdated software.

To avoid hackers from exploiting the vulnerabilities in your systems, here are seven ways to keep your home automation system safe.

  1. Don’t leave your router public.

When your router has no password protection or encryption, your entire network and everything connected to the router is exposed. From your recent pictures to your banking information and home automation system details, they can all be on public display.

Many people would not change the password on their router from the manufacturer’s default password. This will give hackers easy access to compromise the home network. Others are just too kind to let their neighbour piggyback their Internet service. No matter how noble your reason is, secure your router. You better prevent worse scenarios from knocking on your door.

How should you secure your router? Some ways are giving your router a name and changing the password into something that will be too hard to guess. Make sure not to include your street address or your birthday on it. It will also be better if your router is equipped with WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access) authentication for additional protection.

  1. Change the default user names of your home devices.

Similar to your router, you should opt to change the default user name on your IoT devices or home automation systems. Hackers are a pro when it comes to looking for a list of default usernames. They probably already know the default user names and passwords of many IoT devices. This will make it effortless for them to access not only your devices but other information also.

By changing the default user names of your devices when you set them up, you won’t be an easy target for these cybercriminals.

  1. Change your passwords frequently.

Changing passwords often is not only for email and social media accounts. This is more important when it comes to your home automation systems, router and smartphones. Cybercriminals are not newbies. They can use advanced software to attempt thousands of password combinations in only a few minutes. If they are that interested in getting into your system, they might be able to crack your passwords after a while, even if they are strong ones.

When changing your passwords, make strong and unique ones. Again, the password should not include your personal information or home address. And it should not be ‘password’. Make it something difficult to guess, with letters, numbers and special symbols.

If two-factor authentication is possible, use it also for further protection. It’s a one-time code sent to your cell phone that works like a second password in case hackers crack your username and password. In the event that they are able to input the right login details, they won’t get access to your account without the special code sent to you via text message or email. This will also notify you of suspicious activity and prompt you to change your password.

  1. Update your software and devices.

Next to weak password strengths, one reason hackers can easily gain access to your devices is when they are outdated.

Most smart home device manufacturers provide regular updates to fix any bugs or security vulnerabilities in the application associated with their devices. Be sure to download and install these updates as soon as they are released. Don’t wait for a hacker to get into your system before doing so. These updates are not sent out to users for nothing. They will protect you and your devices from hackers.

  1. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks.

One of the beneficial features of smart home devices is that you can control them remotely just by connecting to the Internet. However, no matter how tempted you are to check your home devices through your mobile device in a coffee shop or at the airport across the town, just don’t. Public or open Wi-Fi usually have very poor security protocols. They are not secure, and hackers can use these networks to steal your network details and see the data sent or received from your smart home.