It’s no longer necessary to be tech-savvy to set up smart home products like smart speakers, smart light bulbs or a connected door lock. But data that tells us that some consumers are hesitant to connect their lighting or thermostat to the internet. For many, the threat of potentially becoming more vulnerable to cyber-attacks through their devices may keep them from adopting smart tech. 
Here are three considerations to follow to keep your network safe.  

1. Regularly change passwords and pins for connected devices.

It may sound simple but regularly changing your passwords and pin codes on connected devices like smart locks are crucial to keeping hackers at bay. Start with changing your WiFi password regularly, as that is often one of the most commonly accessed entry points for cyber attackers into your home. Use password managing software, such as Dashlane and 1Password, to ensure your passwords are complex, different for every device and website, and do not follow any convention. 

2. Only use products that are tested and certified.

Don’t trust devices that haven’t received testing or certification or don’t come from a reputable brand. Always purchase smart home products from legitimate sources both online and in stores, and if possible, are supported and governed by an industry Alliance. There are many international Alliances supporting smart home technology that maintain a rigorous and stringent third-party certification system. 

Considerations such as a device’s backward and forwards compatibility are also important. Backward compatibility refers to a devices ability to work with older products or systems, and forwards compatibility is a devices ability to accept new, future updates and work with technologies and products that don’t exist yet. Why is this important? As smart technology continues to develop and require more frequent updates, many hackers take advantage of the time during an update as an opportunity to attack systems when they’re more vulnerable. Using products that have built-in existing compatibility and are able to receive updates is a good best practice for ensuring that all devices on the network are protected. 

3. Install devices that have additional security built-in.

In addition to being reliable through third-party certification, make sure each individual product also provides some level of additional built-in security like an additional framework or layer that uses industry standards such as AES-128 encryption to protect against cyber-attacks or implements features cloud-based TLS.1 tunneling, ensuring devices are safe even as they move to the cloud. How do you know that your device uses this level of security? Look for network protocol certification marks and only purchase brands that you know and trust. Be sure to check reviews online or speak with in-person smart home product specialists if you’re purchasing from a big-box store.