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Smart Home Safety: 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Home Tech Devices are Secure

Homes are getting smarter, which means you need to, too! Keep the threat of hackers at bay with these simple and effective tips.

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Use Your Own Wake Words

Cyber criminals search out homes with basic security precautions in place. Avoid being their next target by ensuring you change each of your smart home device’s wake words from the manufacturer’s default settings. For instance, on your Echo, you can simply say the command, “Change the wake word.” You can also do it in the Alexa app, by selecting the Devices icon, then select your device and finally select the Wake Word. For compatible Echo devices, you can also change the wake word directly on the device. Check out these 15 ways to fake that you have a home security system.

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Mute if You Need To

A digital assistant like Amazon Echo is an affordable and functional smart home device, but it can also be the most dangerous. Because you’re tethering your devices to a speaker with a microphone that’s always listening for your command, hackers could be getting easy access to things you say, like your passwords, vacation plans and more. Muting when it makes sense could save you in the long run. Here are 11 home security mistakes that put you at risk.

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Passwords designer491/Shutterstock

Change the Default Passwords

You may get so excited to set up your new smart home product that you forget to change its default username and password. Big mistake! Hackers will capitalize on your excitement (or laziness), and exploit preset passwords. Here are the 10 best home security devices without monthly fees.

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FirmwareAlexander Supertramp/Shutterstock

Use the Latest Firmware

A smart home is only as smart as its updates, so be sure all of your IoT devices have the latest firmware and patches available. The majority of these updates are the result of a security flaw being found, with hackers having exploited the previous version. Check out these high-tech gadgets that promise to change your life.

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Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a log-in setting that requires you to confirm your identity using two different methods. You may have to input a password, which will then prompt a text message to be sent to your cell phone with a code that you have between seconds and minutes to input on the device or program you’re trying to access. This extra layer of security isn’t available on all smart home devices, however. Carefully monitor important appliances with these home tech products.

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Take Into Account Shared Devices

Doing a roll-call of what smart home devices are in your home can help you pinpoint when an outsider is trying to access your network. You can set up names for all of your devices that will help you to easily identify who has access, as well. Periodically, make sure you recognize all the devices connected to your network, and that they are all running the most up-to-date software. Take a look at these exceptional security cameras that will keep your home safe.

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Secure Your WiFi

Never connect through an unsecured network! By using public WiFi for your smart home devices, you grant hackers the ability to access any data you transmit through your device. The majority of ISPs produce an app or web portal that allows users to view the devices connected to the network and adjust settings such as the network ID or the encryption levels. Find out if a WiFi thermostat is right for you.

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Use an Additional Network

Many Internet routers on the market now offer you the option of having two to three networks in your home. By putting your smart devices on a different network from things like your home computer (which likely has personal information about your identity), you can save yourself from identity theft and the threat of important passwords used for your smart home devices. You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep burglars at bay. Here are some of the best inexpensive (yet very effective!) DIY home security options.

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RouterCasezy idea/Shutterstock

Reset Your Router

Never underestimate the power of your router, as it’s the gateway to all your devices! Once a month, reset your router. Then, rename it so that its brand and model are not easily identified. Be sure to change the default password and set up a guest network for those who visit your home, so that they can’t access your primary network. Home security system installers share tips that will keep you and your home safe and secure.

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Connect Alexey Boldin/Shutterstock

Connect Only if Necessary

Think about which devices you truly want connected. You may not need your coffee maker to be “smart,” for instance. The fewer devices you have hooked up, the less likely opportunistic hackers are to weasel their way into the most important information about you, your family and your home. For the smart devices you absolutely want connected, taking the necessary steps, such as onboarding, setup, password change, etc. Learn the good, the bad and the myths about this best-selling tech device.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: