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Securing Your Home Electronic Devices

With so many people using smart devices in their homes these days, it’s more important than ever to make sure they are secured.

Securing Your Home Devices: How & Why
With so many people using smart devices in their homes these days, it’s more important than ever to make sure they are secured. Since these devices connect directly to the Internet, you may not realize they collect and share your data. Therefore, it's essential to understand how they work — and, more importantly, how you can secure them.

How Smart Devices Can Make You Vulnerable
You could be making your smart devices (and you) visible to hackers and thieves by connecting your smart door locks, cameras, thermostats, and lights to the Internet. Each gadget you connect to the Internet is a target.

While this may be worrisome and cause you to rethink utilizing smart devices in your home, there are ways to secure these devices.

Tips to Secure Your Home Devices
Here are some tips to follow to help keep your home devices more secure and your information safe. 

1. Set Security & Privacy Settings
Make sure you set the security and privacy settings on any new smart device you bring into your home. These smart devices can often default to the least secure settings; therefore, you'll want to be sure to change those settings when first installing your device.

2. Protect Your Network
Smart home devices are "smart" because they're connecting to your home's Wi-Fi network, and this makes it imperative to secure it properly. By not password-protecting your Wi-Fi network or only using the default password your router or modem came with, you risk exposing all your devices. This is the digital equivalent of basically leaving your home's front door open.

3. Change Default Passwords & Usernames
Hackers likely already know any default passwords many of these smart products come with, making it simple for them to access your smart devices and possibly the data on them. Ensure any smart devices you buy allows you to change the default usernames and passwords. Also, you'll want to use a unique password for each of your smart devices.

4. Disable Unused Features
Go through each device's features and learn how they work. You may be surprised how many features are available that you do not want to be enabled, such as location tracking. Make sure you’re familiar with all the features and disable items that make you uncomfortable. 

5. Update New Software Releases Immediately
Make sure you update all software as soon as a new release comes out. Many times, updates can impact the security and performance of the devices.
Likewise, security flaw patches are sent via software updates, so it’s important to load any new releases right away. Mobile security is essential since, many times, your mobile devices are connected to your smart home. Your smart device manufacturers might also send you updates, or you may have to go to their websites and find them. Either way, be sure to check their websites regularly.

6. Strategically Place Devices
Keep in mind many new devices come with listening capabilities and cameras, so it's important to place them in your home strategically. For example, you may not want to put these devices in areas where important or private conversations occur.

7. Stick with Reputable Brands
It's a good idea you choose your smart devices and gadgets from established, reputable brands. These companies want to protect their reputation and have the infrastructure to back it up. Therefore, chances are they use better security measures when they design their devices. You can also reasonably expect they'll release software fixes and patches pretty quickly should any vulnerabilities arise.

We’re Here to Help!
Security in this day and age should be a top priority for everyone. While smart home devices are convenient, understanding how they work and how to secure them is essential.
As your credit union, protecting your personal and account information is of the utmost importance to us. If you want to learn more about how we secure your accounts, please stop by the Credit Union or give us a call at 410-687-5240.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.