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Protecting your Home Devices from Hacking

As more and more appliances incorporate WIFI, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home devices increase. So how do you prevent that from happening? Here are 3 safety tips:

Password Protect: Make sure you are armoring your devices and network with strong passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Remember, the longer your password is, the more difficult it is for a hacker to crack. You should also avoid using obvious passwords that are simple to decipher by anyone who knows you. For instance, “your pet’s name followed by 123” is not a secure enough password to protect you from anyone who could target you personally. Avoid names all together and choose a password that is unique to you and only you will remember. To avoid a hacker gaining access to multiple devices at once, don’t use the same password for every account you create. Better yet, install two-step initiation, such as fingerprint or facial recognition to ramp up your security. Also change your passwords frequently. Ideally, every 3 months.

Limit Your Exposure: Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so. Don’t leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s necessary. This lessens the opportunity for hackers to peak or listen into your devices. For example, you don’t need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time. Also, keep your smart-home appliances and your personal devices on separate networks so if malware does infect your home devices, it will not carry onto any devices storing personal information. Baby monitors with video are also common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.

Never Share Passwords and Update Your Devices Regularly:  Don’t share your passwords or make the exception for anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI systems have a “guest” feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it. If your device doesn’t update automatically, don’t ignore any reminders to ‘update’ your software, as these new updates can strengthen your security each time.

In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it’s smart to play it safe. Know what’s connected and protect yourself.

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