Raising your home's IQ comes at a cost: increased vulnerability to hackers. "Smart" devices (those connected to the Internet) include TVs, thermostats, kitchen gadgets and security equipment. Every item that's connected should be protected by a firewall-even that little gizmo that alerts you when your egg supply is running low. Here are additional ways to give your brainy home more brawn:
Every computer, tablet and smartphone in your house should have this software.
Be a smart user.
You're the brains behind all the "smart" things in your house. If you remain in the dark, you put your home at risk for cyber attacks. Remember, a thief could "get into" any one of your super cool gadgets and cause major trouble. Yes, a prankster could "get into" your thermostat, or worse yet, a ruthless crook could steal your identity via invasion of some other device.
A virtual private network (VPN) will enable you to communicate with your home without anyone else cyber spying. So if you want to remotely turn up the thermostat, you can do this in a vacuum. Nobody else will be able to connect with your home's devices but you.
Home network security.
How well do you know your home network and how your router works? Are your router's security settings optimized? Does it use WEP or beter more security encryption protocols WPA or WPA2. A home network that's configured well will serve to protect.
Make sure security is regularly updated.
This includes at the moment you set it up. If you don't know how to update firmware, visit the manufacturer's site to learn. Then check for updates routinely to prevent security holes.
Anything and everything in your house that's connected to the Internet absolutely must be secured and kept updated, no matter how small it is or how trite its function is. Don't say, "Oh, it's just a thermostat." It's also a potential portal to a cyber villain.