Walt Disney once dreamed about smart homes. Back in 1964, at the World’s Fair in New York, Tomorrowland’s “Carousel of Progress” was developed as a part of GE’s Progressland exhibit. This story, which features an audio-animatronic family at the turn of the century – in the 1920’s, 1940’s and present day – quickly became one of the most popular attractions at the fair.
The Magic of Smart Home Connectivity
While Disney had the right idea, he was missing one key component critical to making smart home devices, appliances and security systems work – internet connectivity. There isn’t a big difference between the spectators at the 1964 World’s Fair and consumers today.
- We like to “ooh” and “ahh” at incredible technology which can automatically adjust the temperature in a room, maintain an inventory of food in our fridge and keep our homes safe and secure.
- But we so rarely look at the risks associated with these devices. We place so much on the convenience of the technology, but neglect to think about the potential risks and threats.
How Can You Protect Your Smart Home Network?
How can you defend your smart home against the sophisticated tactics of hackers? If your company has an IT department, start by talking to its representatives about your concerns. They should be able to provide some good advice on what they use in their own smart homes to protect their networks.
Here are a couple of simple strategies to help mitigate the risks:
- Place a firewall between your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and any router, switch or Wireless Access Point (WAP) on your network.
- If you have multiple services running on your network like security systems, audio/visual/entertainment systems, and home and guest access, consider deploying a managed switch which will enable network segmentation into Virtual Local Area Networks (vLANs) that prevent data traffic from crossing systems.
- Establish a Family and Guest Connection. Guests should only be able to see the open internet and nothing else. The family environment should be any computers, smart home devices, and peripherals used by the family. Use vLANs and WAP configuration.
Passwords for access to firewalls, switches, WAP’s and devices should meet minimum industry best practices. An overview and examples are provided here – https://www.hillardheintze.com/security-risk-management/password-protection-tips-tricks-expert/.
If you have any questions regarding the security of your networks, feel free to reach out to us.