How can I protect my smart home from hackers?
Dan Grabham replies: At present, the prospect of your home ‘being hacked’ is quite remote. However, with so many devices like smart bulbs, thermostats and kitchen appliances now connecting to the internet, such attacks could become more common in the future.
The first and best thing you can do to protect your smart home from hackers is to change all access passwords from their default ones to something unique to you. Use strong passwords that consist of letters, numbers and symbols. If two-factor authentication is available, use it – Google and Apple now support this. It sends you a second code (usually to your phone or other ‘trusted’ device), which you need to enter in addition to your password.
Many devices will keep their own software (firmware) up-to-date, but it’s important to always download updates for all your devices, whether that’s a Dell XPS laptop running Windows 10, an Apple TV or a Nest Protect. This will keep your smart home gadgets as safe as possible from weaknesses that hackers might try to exploit.
Many routers, such as the Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router, enable you to create a ‘guest’ network to be used by visitors, so you don’t need to give out your main access code. That’s important if you run a small business from your home. And never allow someone remote access to your network – especially if they called you out of the blue!