Smart home

Our homes generate more data than ever - whether it's from the humble mobile phone, to smart kitchen appliances and security cameras. DynaRisk can help you to better manage your digital footprint against growing cyber threats.

We are more connected than ever and with a total world population of over 7.5 billion people, there could be nearly 50 billion network connected devices by 2020 (Statista). That’s a total of 6.58 devices per person and will include anything from smartphones and TVs to laptops and tablets. As a result the amount of data we produce will see a sharp incline - but the side effect is that in direct correlation, cyber attacks will increase too.

Are smart homes more susceptible?

Connecting your home to smart devices such as lights, appliances and locks introduces a number of security risks. Connected baby monitors hit the headlines when hackers spoke to young children via compromised devices, sending parents into meltdown. Any IoT* device can be vulnerable to attack, making smart homes more vulnerable since they provide more entry points for cyber criminals. Threats and attacks against smart home devices include:

Device takeover

As with any cyber takeover, unauthorised access to one device could potentially re-infect all smart devices in the home. For example, by compromising a thermostat an attacker can theoretically gain access to the entire network.

Data & identity theft

Data generated by unprotected devices and smart appliances provide cyber criminals with tonnes of information that can be exploited for fraudulent transactions and identify theft.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

A DDoS attack would render smart home devices unavailable to the intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services. A smart oven may stop working, or the entire network may be interrupted.

Permanent Denial of Service (PDoS)

A PDoS attack, also known as phlashing, is an attack that damages a device so badly that it requires replacement or reinstallation of hardware. 

Securing your Wi-Fi router

The most important thing to note is that your Wi-Fi router is essentially the “front door” to your smart home. It’s the central hub that connects all of your devices so it should be impenetrable and ready to defend against intruders.

Most people simply use the router provided by their internet service provider, but there are independent companies that sell more secure routers - a good solution for smart homes. Once you move to a secure router, it’s a good idea to research the smart devices you might want or already have. Privacy and security are hugely important factors. You might consider...

What are the privacy policies?

Will the provider store your data or sell it to a third party?

How are updates enabled?

Understand exactly how the device will use and transmit your data, and choose the one you consider to be most secure

9 ways to protect your smart home

  1. Rename your router

Don’t stick with the name the manufacturer gave it as this could indicate the make or model. Give it an unusual name that doesn’t give away any personal identifiers.

  1. Use a strong encryption method for Wi-FiIn your router settings use a strong encryption method, like WPA2, when you set up Wi-Fi network access. This will help keep your network and communications secure.
  1. Set up a guest network

Keep your Wi-Fi account private. Visitors, friends and relatives can log into a separate network that doesn’t tie into your IoT devices.

  1. Use strong, unique passwords for your Wi-Fi network and accounts

Avoid common words or passwords that are easy to guess, such as “password” or “123456.” Instead, use unique, complex passwords made up of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols. You might also consider a password manager like LastPass to help remember everything.

  1. Check the setting for your devices

Your devices will usually come with default privacy and security settings. Make sure they benefit you, and only you.

  1. Keep your software up to date

When your a manufacturer sends you a software update, don’t put off installing it. Each iteration typically contains a patch for a newly discovered security flaw or bug. In most cases, updates will appear directly on the device - but for some you may be required to visit the device manufacturers websites to check for them.

  1. Audit the IoT devices already on your home network

Are you using a seriously old laptop or PC? Running Windows 7? The devices you currently own may be putting you at serious risk of attack.

  1. Enable two-step verification

Two-factor authentication is a free and easy way to protect your accounts. If your smart device apps offer two-step verification (also referred to as two-factor authentication, or 2FA), use it.

  1. Get your Cyber Security Score

DynaRisk’s Cyber Security Score is a simple indicator designed to help you understand your security risks and identify vulnerabilities across your accounts and devices.