Cybersecurity For Homes: Prevention & Safety Guide

Why are homes a target:

Your home is a safe haven for your family. It’s where you live, eat and sleep, but did you know that it could also be a target? If there are vulnerabilities in your home, hackers can take advantage of them to infiltrate the space and steal personal information or commit other crimes. This blog post will help you identify potential problems with cybersecurity in your home so that you know how to protect yourself from cyber-attacks!

The new age of IOTs to control functions like lighting, security, temperature, TVs, computer, camera systems, washers, refrigerators etc, are the building blocks for homes. These gadgets have sensors and switches with telecommunication interface which enables interaction between devices and people. IoT has brought facilities like connectivity, sensing, active engagement, safety, easy access, save money, increased productivity.

With so many benefits of IoT, there are some drawbacks and vulnerabilities which could lead to some devastating results. Some of the major IoT vulnerabilities are weak password protection, lack of update mechanism, inefficient data protection, insecure firmware, unauthorized access, information disclosure, removal or theft of resources, and information corruption. If a hacker got access to the system through an insecure channel could lead to theft of resources, information and privacy issues.

According to a study by DataProt, “An IoT devices is typically attacked within 5 minutes of connecting to the internet.”

What could happen with low cybersecurity awareness?

Technology has brought so much convenience in our life but with this ease, it has brought some downside too. We are never completely secure in this digital era and are always at the edge of intrusion of privacy. What if someone stalking you all the time, stealing your information, misusing your personal information. 

The same thing happened with the man in Quebec where his family’s private moments were captured on a home security camera which was being live-streamed on the website where an older lady in bed close to a chest latrine, a kid playing in a family room, and a lady telecommuting can be seen. While after investigation it was found out that the cameras were secured with a low complexity password.

Smart homes have nowadays have become a primary target for cybercrime. An attacker can launch a zero-day attack to compromise the security of devices like webcams, smart tv, routers, and smart home. As the attacker gets access to the system attacker can stalk your daily routine activities. He can also use your information by changing it and providing other false inaccurate information.

An attacker can use your digital footprint which he can use to trick users by getting access to their digital assets. Digital assets include your social media accounts credentials, credit card information which could be misused to blackmail you or used in identity theft.

One of the families suffered from the horrible incident after their smart home devices got hacked by an unknown hacker in which he took control over their devices and played disturbing music in loud volume, stalk their regular daily activities, changed the aquarium temperature to 90-degree Fahrenheit, and much more.

Cybersecurity prevention for homes:

Smart homes experience around more than 12,000 cyber-attacks every week.

Now the question arises that how can we prevent our smart homes free from these attacks and what measures we could use to prevent being hacked? Well, there is no guarantee of being 100 percent safe and secure smart homes but we could make them secure by minimizing their risk level using the following preventive measures as the IoT hacks are evolved from time to time.

Source: 1https://itsupplychain.com/evolution-of-iot-attacks-study-exposes-the-arms-race-between-cybercriminals-and-cybersecurity/

Change default password:

The default password that comes with a newly purchased device should be changed immediately to a secure and complex password. This is because most of the vendors use the same set of default credentials which can be easily found on the internet and in the user manual that makes the device vulnerable to default password attacks. So, it is necessary to change the default password to prevent these types of attacks. 

Use strong unique passwords and password manager:

You should always unique string passwords with a combination of alphanumeric characters with symbols having a length of a minimum of 16 characters to make it harder for a hacker to crack them. And also, try not to use your name, common stuff names, and words that could be easily found in an English dictionary. A password manager can also be utilized to store your passwords in an encrypted file which will help to access them safely and will generate uncrackable passwords without the worry to remember long passwords.

Use two-factor authentication on all accounts:

It is important to use two-factor authentication on your all devices as it adds a layer of security and protection. It makes it harder for the hacker to bypass the system as it requires something you know like a password and something you have like your authenticator apps, fingerprint, face recognition, verification code to gain access to the device.

Install security patches:

Always use the latest security patch for your devices. The security patches fix the vulnerabilities and errors in the system. Applying security patches is important for preventing security breaches. It protects your system from hackers taking over your device. 

Make VPNs a habit:

Make all your internet communications encrypted by using a virtual private network (VPN) connection. It will help you in hiding your real IP address and making you virtually untraceable. Encryption makes the data unreadable to the hacker’s which helps in restricting the privacy intrusion.

Disable UPnP Feature

Most IoTs utilize UPnP(Universal Plugin and Play) software protocol to allow multiple other devices to connect to them hassle-free. Like Siri, Google Assitant and Alexa can control the smart device in your home using voice commands. On the other hand, it poses a security risk as if an attacker discovers a single device, the other connected devices able can be discovered easily. Then the attacks like MITM (Man in the Middle) attacks can be performed to disturb the network. It is recommended that you should turn off the UPnP feature to safeguard your home network.

Rethink about your wireless network:

The router’s SSID should be hidden and the signal range should be limited to the premises of your home only so that it will not be shown to your neighbors or anyone nearby. Set the wireless security protocol to WPA2 and set a strong administrator password using a password manager.

Be selective about your smart devices:

Think long and hard about the type of devices you have in your house and how it works. Do you need an internet-connected rice cooker or smart coffee machine? Every internet-connected device that you add to your house increases your attack vector and the risk of an attacker getting access to your home network. Of course, there are legitimate reasons why you might want to have a camera in your house perhaps you looking after someone with special medical needs and you want to make sure your home is safe in your absence, or maybe you are using your camera to monitor your children. 

Every new device you place in your home network usually makes your life more comfortable but on the contrary, it also weighs up the risks associated with being hacked. So always buy the device you need, not the devices which look fancy.

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