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Privacy Matters: 2 simple ways to keep your smart home secure


iDevices News, Privacy Matters: 2 simple ways to keep your smart home secure
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The internet of things (IoT), as it relates to the smart home space, is known for adding convenience, accessibility, and security. Ironically, despite many of the security-related smart home devices on the market, such as connected locks, cameras, and doorbells, IoT comes with a host of privacy-related challenges. These challenges can't be ignored, as 65 percent of Americans are seriously concerned with data privacy. IoT operates from a foundation of open data and sharing, so how can homes and businesses maintain data privacy while enabling these networks?

1. Close off your network

One of the easiest ways to improve privacy is a closed off network. In a home or business, all IoT devices can operate individually in a private manner. How, you ask? A VPN (virtual private network) installed in your router can effectively protect data from malicious sources. This private network ensures any device that connects to your Wi-Fi network is protected by your VPNs encryption.

Businesses have taken to using VPNs, according to Forbes, as many will block up to 75 percent of privacy-based attacks. Homeowners are a little slower on the uptake, but are starting to become more aware especially in reaction to new privacy legislation across the world.

Some things to consider:

  • Make sure your VPN is installed in your router. Ensure your router is compatible with a VPN.
  • A VPN can hamper internet connection speed, in turn impacting your smart home's effectiveness, so make sure you find a VPN with fast connection speeds.
  • VPNs could potentially prevent the setup of certain smart home products. If you're having issues, consider shutting the VPN off while setting up a product. 
  • Avoid a VPN with usage restrictions, which could regulate your monthly bandwidth. If you want a smart home, bandwidth restrictions aren't going to work. 
  • Make sure your VPN provider is secure. If your provider turns around and leaks your data, what's the point?

2. Keep your smart home updated

Security networks are only as good as their users. Ensuring your smart home devices are always updated is crucial. If you put off that latest firmware/software update for too long, even the smallest of seams could be exploited. This is often referred to as a zero-day exploit. While, according to ZDNet, technology has been developed that may see the end of zero-day exploits, they cannot be ruled out entirely — especially as innovation continues apace. Ensuring your devices are fully equipped with the latest software and/or firmware will negate the issue and provide a layer of protection to your private data.

Privacy concerns are hot on the IoT agenda, but there are steps businesses and families can take to safeguard their environment. Largely, they are concerned with diligent updates of hardware teamed with high quality security measures. Tied together with vigilant stewardship of data, IoT networks can present an assured security outlook.