Smart Home For Beginners – IoT Security

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This is a series on home automation basics. I’ve been covering some of the essentials
like scenes & modes, automations, voice assistants, and in this one, how to secure your smart
home devices. In the last video I walked through voice assistants
and how to use them to make your smart home more accessible. If you haven't seen that one yet, I’ll include
links in the description. You can also jump back to the beginning of
my home automation basics playlist to see topics like scenes, routines, and geofencing. But as I mentioned, in this video I’ll be
jumping into securing your smart home. With each smart home device you add, it’s
like adding another tiny door into your home for someone to hack open or take advantage
of. While I will be giving examples from different
systems like SmartThings, Google, Amazon, and others, this is meant to be a platform
agnostic view on home automation. These core concepts apply no matter what system
you’re using.

If you’re just getting started, then this
is the series to watch. If you’re already building out your smart
home, this may still spark some ideas. Before we dive in, take a moment and hit the
subscribe button, so you don’t miss out on the full series and other future videos
like this one. I’m Matt Ferrell … welcome to Undecided. It’s enticing to save some money and buy
a no-name brand for $5 vs.

Paying $25 for a brand you’re familiar with. The problem is that each of these devices
are little computers running basic operating systems. Not every company takes the time to build
out their computer systems with the care and attention they require, so they may be running
outdated software that has security vulnerabilities that were never patched. Or have default administrator usernames and
passwords, which make it easy for a hacker to take control of the system and then run
amuck inside your home’s network. Internet of Things manufactures aren’t spending
enough time securing what they’re building, so it’s on us to make sure we’re buying
reputable devices and taking steps to secure our homes. If you don’t think this is a wide problem,
then you should check out an HP Research Study that found 70% of IoT devices were vulnerable
to attack. Or watch Ken Munro’s Ted Talk where he talks
at length about how easy it is to hack a lot of smart tech.

Twitter suffered a denial of service attack
in October 2016 that was run from 300,000 hacked home security cameras. This isn’t a problem that’s going away
on its own. Here’s a few rules I strongly recommend
you follow: Don’t buy IoT devices from a vendor unless
it has proven security. The old saying that, “if it seems too good
to be true, it probably is,” is sometimes the case. Don’t jump on the cheapest options you find
without doing a little research first. Look up a manufacturer to see if there are
any customer complaints or issues reported with software problems. See how long they’ve been in business and
what their track record is for pushing updates to their products. Have they been in business for multiple years
or are they brand new? Reputable companies will have details on their
terms of service and privacy policies, so you can often find out where the servers are
located and what countries and laws will be protecting your privacy.

It’s important to know as much about the
company before you plug in any company’s device in your home. Put your devices on a separate network
Try your best to limit the number of devices you put onto your home WiFi network. On a practical level, too many devices on
a WiFi network can end up causing instability in your network. A rule of thumb is to not go over about 50
devices on a single consumer grade router. There are some that can handle more, but it’s
generally not a good idea. Every device that you add to your network
can see every other device on your home network. So one path to secure things would be to get
a separate WiFi router that you can run a secondary network isolated from your main
system. Put all of your home computers, smartphones,
etc. onto the main WiFi network. And then put all of your IoT devices on the
second WiFi router running a completely separate gateway. This will make it impossible for any IoT device
to see your home PC, Mac, or smart phone.

pexels photo 5256143

Another option that many routers include is
a guest network. For instance, I use the Eero mesh WiFi system
for my home network. I can run a completely separate guest network,
which isolates anything on that WiFi network from seeing not only my main WiFi devices,
but from seeing any other devices on the guest network. It’s like putting a tiny firewall around
every single device on the guest network. And for Apple users, Apple announced a new
secure WiFi setup as part of Apple HomeKit (https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/3/18646453/apple-homekit-support-smart-home-security-routers-wwdc-2019). It’s basically Eero’s guest WiFi technique
brought to HomeKit.

Any supported HomeKit router will be able
to automatically firewall off HomeKit accessories, so they can’t access your full home network. Linksys, Eero, and Spectrum are the first
companies signed on to support that new feature. Make sure you're devices are running the latest
software Many devices have firmware updates that come
out from time to time to fix bugs, add new features, and to plug security holes. My Philips Hue hub has received numerous updates
over the years, but you often have to keep an eye out in that devices mobile app for
those updates. I’ll often see a notification icon on my
Hue app that there’s an update to apply. Be sure to check your Hue app, or iHome app,
or fill in the blank app, from time to time to see if there are any software or firmware
updates available.

So that's the last of this initial set of
videos, but keep an eye on this playlist and the channel because I’ll be adding more
to it over time. Be sure to drop any questions or aspects to
smart homes that you’d like to see me cover in the comments. You can also reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram,
and my website. And if you liked this video, be sure to give
it a thumbs up and share with your friends because it really helps the channel. There are some other ways you can support
the channel too. Check out my SFSF Shop for some cool Tesla,
Space X, science, and Undecided shirts. There’s also other links in the description
for some great Tesla accessories and discounts. And as always, an extra big thank you to all
of my Patreon supporters.

Your support is really helping to make these
videos possible. Be sure to check out my Patreon page for additional
details about joining the crew. And if you haven’t already, consider subscribing
and hitting the notification bell to get alerts when I post a new video. And as always, thanks so much for watching,
I’ll see you in the next one..

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