Monday, April 12

The first steps to take to properly secure your connected objects at home

Connected objects within the home are easily starting to number in the tens in each household. If they make everyday life easier, they can also be tricky without a little attention. We list the sometimes simple actions to strengthen the security of your connected home.

The Wi-Fi network at the heart of the house

The Wi-Fi network in the heart of the house // Gamesdone: Gerd Altmann of Pixabay« >URL

Nowadays, millions of connected objects have invaded our interiors. According to one Reichelt Eletronik study, 63% of French people have a connected device at home, whether for light (65%), security (48%), household (43%), heating (35%) or outdoors (21%) .

The Internet of Things has taken over homes at breakneck speed. Two out of three French people have thus admitted having bought a new device in 2020. If France still remains far in terms of equipment (11.5%, but forecasts at 25% for 2024 for Statista), it is progressing, like all the countries of the world. By 2024, the market should therefore weigh nearly $ 157 billion according to the Smart Home Report 2020. A worldwide turnover which was only 74 billion dollars in 2019.

The penetration rate of connected equipment worldwide in 2019

The penetration rate of connected equipment worldwide in 2019 // Gamesdone: Smart Home Report 2020 / Statista

61% of French people worried about the risk of a cyberattack

France is therefore advancing at a normal pace. The connected home now represents around 55% of the turnover of connected objects in France (with wearables, drones, health objects, etc.). A global amount established at 1.68 billion euros in 2019, according to GfK figures.

Enough to make the house a prime target for pirates of all kinds. Because with this influx of many connected objects, from the indoor camera to the outdoor alarm system via the thermostat or the vacuum cleaner, these are all traps that we set ourselves without a little bit of Warning.

Multiplying smart devices without paying attention is ultimately opening the door to hackers by telling them to enter if they wish. And yet, more than three in five French people (61%) say they are concerned about the risks of a cyberattack.

What you must do as soon as you install your connected objects

However, it only takes a few actions within everyone’s reach to strengthen their security and minimize the risks. If you are new to home automation, here are the reflexes to acquire when you start your installation.

Change the default username and password

As soon as you buy a connected product that will require a connection to a Wi-Fi network, it arrives ready to use with identifiers already pre-filled and all too often identical from one product to another by default. And who says by default, says easily available on the Dark Web and therefore keys collected by cybercriminals to connect to your devices, recalls McAfee, specialist in cybersecurity.

It is imperative to remember to change the default username and password as soon as the device is configured to avoid any malicious act. Because simple access to a router or a connected speaker, for example, could then potentially give access to your computers, smartphones or other connected object, and put them within reach of malware.

Change your password regularly

It is a way to increase the security of your installation, but it is true, it has a tedious side. You can think of using a password manager to generate complex passwords more easily.

Secure your network

It is absolutely essential to make sure in the settings that your Wi-Fi network is secure. Make sure that the WEP, WPA and WPS encryption of your data is activated in your box or your router so that it is as difficult as possible for an unauthorized user to decrypt.

An authentication protocol, with password and network key, is essential to ensure the security of the connection between your device and your Wi-Fi network. But in addition to strengthening the security of your information and your installation, Strengthening the encryption also has the merit of not adversely affecting your connection speed or your network performance which could be disrupted by unsolicited third-party use.

It should be obvious, but it always gets better by repeating it: don’t neglect updates and frequently check their availability (or switch to automatic when possible).

Configure a guest network for your connected objects

The guest network is not only used to offer your friends and visitors to share your Wi-Fi connection. It can also be very useful to concentrate your connected devices on an exclusive and therefore more secure network. One way to ensure that the objects in the house are connected with the right permissions and at the right time of their use, without interference. In particular, connected devices will not have access to sensitive files that may be on your computer or smartphone, connected to another network.

Use security software

To enhance network security, it may be fashionable to use firewalls and other access control systems. This will have the merit of not letting an object connect “on its own” to the network, under the control of a hacker who would have managed to sneak in. Some security software offers a firewall for computers and peripherals, a solution for connected objects, an integrated password manager, multi-device compatibility and data monitoring to detect and block intrusion attempts.

The Wi-Fi router allied to your connection, but also a worse concern if you do not secure it properly

The Wi-Fi router allied to your connection, but also a worse problem if you do not secure it properly // Gamesdone: Google

You can also opt to use a VPN (virtual private network) to reliably encrypt the device-internet connection. And it also allows remote access to your settings and data.

Focus on well-known brands

Obviously, the more you opt for products from well-established brands – and after-sales service worthy of the name – the less risk you will run. Trust and a good reputation are essential assets when you have to entrust the security of your home and its inhabitants. And this is particularly the case when you are promised all kinds of functions (video stream that can be viewed remotely, access to your security devices remotely, cloud storage, etc.) that affect your personal space, whether it is physical or virtual.

Also think about updates to connected objects and their apps

Each connected object is often accompanied by a management application on iOS or Android. Check that the updates are done automatically or do not forget to do them. Both the object and the app must be up to date to ensure secure use and thus correct any bug or security breach as quickly as possible.

An object that is not used goes out

This is sometimes easier said than done, but remember to cut the connection of an unused or inactive connected object. Even dormant, if connected, there is still a potential loophole, especially if you don’t have your eye on it. By disabling it, sometimes simply by turning it off, it may no longer be able to be used to capture sensitive data.

To help you easily electrically disconnect your devices, a connected multiple socket can be a good solution. Some, like Lidl’s, allow you to individually manage the power supply and therefore the connection of connected devices.

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