How to make your smart home devices secure

With great innovation comes a great threat. As our smart home devices are now linked to the entire household, it is easier than ever for someone to penetrate your private life. 

Luckily, there are certain security measures that you can take, and we will guide you on how to secure Alexa, Google Assistant, and make sure your home is where the heart is.

Easy methods for securing Alexa

Alexa amazon

Alexa is an application that can be used with Echo and many other products. When a device becomes so integral to your life, it is easy to see how someone’s unauthorized access can pose a serious threat for you. Below you will find a few easy ways on securing Alexa for your worry-free existence.

Network protection

The internet is the primary channel that makes your smart home devices vulnerable. Therefore it’s vital to have a secure network before you look at anything else.

The first thing is to use a personalized wifi password and enable the WPA2 protocol on your network. Also, it’s recommended to encrypt your traffic and pass it via a secure server. A good Virtual Private Network (VPN) can do this for you.

Protect your Amazon account

Anyone who gains access to your Amazon account will be able to listen to your entire recorded history. To avoid this, you have to make sure that your Amazon password is strong enough and known to you only.

It’s also crucial to use anti-spyware software as people can gain access to your account through various techniques, such as cookie injection and keyloggers. We recommend McAfee Security Systems, as they are one of the foremost cybersecurity software providers in the world.

Manage your recordings

There are numerous offline security measures to protect your data from anyone who might want to listen in. The first one is to turn the microphone off whenever you are not using it. This way, Alexa will not be able to record anything until you manually turn it back on.

You can also change the word that enables recording on your smart home device. Try to pick something that you are unlikely to use in your regular conversation so that you do not record sensitive information by accident.

Finally, consider deleting your older recordings which you have no use for. In case someone taps into your recordings, you will minimize the damage by having as little information stored as you need.

Google Assistant privacy concerns

Google Assistant

Google Assistant poses even more security threats as it is available on your smartphone and your smart home device. That’s why protect your privacy on Google Assistant is much harder, but not impossible. Here are some tips to make Google Assistant less of a security concern.

Public wifi is the worst

When you connect to a public wifi network, accessing your phone is easier than you think. Since you can use the Google Assistant with your smartphone, it is crucial that you only connect to networks that you completely trust. If there’s no secure network around, you should use a VPN to encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address from possible snoopers.

2-step verification

You can soothe a lot of Google Assistant Privacy concerns by having 2-step verification turned on for your Google account. 2-step verification can send a message to your phone whenever someone logs-in to make sure that it’s you and no one else.

Think before you share

You do not have to share all of your activity with your Google Assistant. If you feel like you have sensitive data that you are not comfortable having an online presence, you can decide exactly how much your smart home device should know. Google themselves have a very informative article on restricting data from Google Assistant that you should read.

Some more tips and tricks

Before we end, we thought to take you through some tips and tricks which apply to all smart home devices. There are many devices which can be linked to your smart home device, and they may pose additional security risks you might be unaware of.

For example, you should always upgrade old hardware, such as security cameras, as the previous versions might have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. At the very least, turn off some of the features that you do not need, such as Remote Access, as they pose the greatest security risks.

Finally, make sure that all home security devices (i.e., alarms, cameras) have a separate wifi network and all of your guests use another network. Also, use only strong passwords, because your network’s encryption acts as an extra security layer. And make sure to install all firmware updates as bugs are often used to compromise smart home devices.  

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