Is Your Wi-Fi Safe From Hackers?

Smart devices are still developing

Did you know that your fridge can tell you when you’ve run out of milk? Household appliances can now be linked up to your internet to control your home. According to research, there will be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet by in the next two years(by 2020). A few years ago, this was unimaginable, but everyday technology is developing. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another word for Smart devices, if it is anything other than a computer or smartphone/tablet, and it connects to the Internet, it can be called an IoT device.

Smart TV’s are probably the most well-known form of Internet appliance, they are great for entertainment, especially for watching your favourite movies, whether that be on Netflix, YouTube or any Internet site on Google. Eventually anything in your home, such as your dishwasher, fridge, cooker, and washing machine will be able to connect to the Internet, some companies have already started retailing Wi-Fi cookers that let you monitor and control your oven using just an app.

The dangers of smart devices

As with all technology, there are disadvantages to owning smart devices, and as new gadgets make our homes smarter, they’re also making them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and malicious activities. When you buy Internet-enabled devices such as televisions(smart tv) or even smart kitchen appliances you are leaving them open to hackers, who could use them to gain access to your personal information, for example your bank account details.

5 tips to keeping safe

1: Setting up a password

Your Wi-Fi network should always be protected by a password. Many routers are supplied with a default password, and some don’t come with anything. It is extremely important to change the default password with a personal one, and if your router does not have a password, then make one. If your Wi-Fi network isn’t secure, people passing by your house, or even neighbours have a very easy access to your Wi-Fi and if their connected they could use your broadband to gain access to your connected devices such as computers and home security cameras.

 2: Changing your password regularly

It’s a sensible idea to change your Wi-Fi password on a regular basis, it may be inconvenient as you will need to reconnect all your devices to the new Wi-Fi, but it’s a smart way of blocking out people or devices that have gained access without you knowing. Also, by changing it regularly your giving the hackers much more of a challenge.

3: Monitor your network

Monitoring your network will help you spot unknown devices and identify unofficial users. Use the router admin controls to monitor the connections on your network. Some routers will let You enter nicknames for your connected devices so that it will be easier to spot the unknown.

4: Don't connect to public Wi-Fi

If you’re anywhere outside of your home, for example in a shopping centre and are tempted to use your phone to check on your house alarm or security cameras, don’t connect to a public Wi-Fi connection that the shopping centre owns, or even a coffee shop Wi-Fi. These public Wi-Fi spots are unencrypted and make it easy for hackers to monitor your activity. If you’re using any type of app, it’s better to switch off your Wi-Fi and use your mobile data instead.

5: Well-known brands

If your buying internet connected devices, it’s always safer to buy from a well-known brand. The bigger brands will have a better team behind them ensuring their products are as safe as possible, and if difficulties are found they will react very quickly.

Hackers and how they work

Leaving smart devices unsecured, as with any internet connected device, is like leaving the front door to your house unlocked when you go on holiday. It gives attackers access to your personal information and the potential to use other devices on your network to gain more and more private details. Manufacturers are being urged to introduce security ratings for Wi-Fi enabled appliances that are linked to home computers and mobile phones, this is because they should be protecting individuals and their safety against cybercriminals.

Five things hackers use to steal your details:

​​​​1: Using fake “free” Wi-Fi networks to steal passwords

2: Guessing obvious passwords like “123456”

3: Social media stalkers who find out when you’re on holiday, using Facebook

4: Dodgy apps that trick you into giving away data using in-app permissions

5: Fake emails pretending to be from well-known brands - like Amazon or eBay

How can you secure your smart device?

So, what can you do to enjoy the use of your smart devices and remain secure at the same time? One option is to go with an insurance company that protects you from cyber-attacks. Cyber-attack insurance hasn’t yet become very popular for insurance companies, but one company who have thought about providing people with cyber-attack insurance is Smart Cover. They plan to add cyber-attack insurance to their gadget insurance. If insurance isn’t an option for you there are now security companies that have made gadgets that claim to ensure your safety. Check the companies I have listed below that are agreeing to provide solutions for security problems in smart homes.

F-Secure SENSE

Finnish security company F-Secure, is offering a new home security gadget that connects to your existing Wi-Fi router and adds security between your home and network. The new gadget is called SENSE. You can monitor and control everything through a mobile app. The device scans all activity on your network and sends you a notification if it “senses” anything unusual. The app allows you to block any incoming our outgoing traffic that seems suspicious, giving you centralised remote control over individual devices in your network. Its new SENSE product costs £169, which includes a one-year subscription to the cloud service.

f secure sense

DOJO

Dojo connects to your network and acts as a layer between your smart devices and any threats to your security and privacy. Dojo is plugged in to your Wi-Fi router, monitoring all movement. Whenever it finds irregular behaviour, Dojo will report to you through the app. The pebble is free to move around the house and glows when there is activity that needs to be addressed in the mobile app. Dojo is shipped from the U.S and costs £90, which includes a one-year service subscription. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and are now more educated on how easy it really is for hackers to access private information from your Internet devices. If you’re a family who enjoy a house full of gadgets, and find yourself always on the internet, then you may want to explore the above security devices to ensure you are protected. Or if spending another £100 on a device isn’t a route you want to take, then you may want to opt for the insurance at a low monthly cost, if so do get a free gadget insurance quote today.

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