TIM DREW: Ensuring you are safely connected in your home

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

What was considered futuristic ten years ago is now commonplace technology in many homes and offices, with myriad items now capable of internet connection.

Lighting, heating, security systems, audio systems, refrigerators and toys can all be monitored and controlled remotely via apps on your mobile device, while smart TVs are also connected via your WiFi.

This means that they all transmit data which could be of use to criminals in disabling your intruder alarm, infecting your WiFi network with malware, or obtaining sensitive data from the apps associated with anything from security systems to children’s tablets and dolls.

There are some simple, practical steps that you can take to ensure that everything is connected safely.

For devices for which you need a password as well as your WiFi password to connect, replace factory-set passwords with secure ones you create, because a lot of default passwords are common to every device shipped, and potentially insecure. If in doubt, check manufacturers’ instructions on how to change passwords.

Don’t use the same password for more than one connected device, or share passwords with those you already use for other online accounts.

Make sure that your WiFi network is secure. Check the advice page on www.getsafeonline.org for help.

Make sure that all computers and mobile devices are fitted with security software, and that device access is protected with a PIN or passcode.

Check the apps associated with your connected devices, and install updates as soon as prompted.

If you can, disable remote-management access and other powerful network tools when not required.

Consider whether buying well-known, reputable brands means that more care has probably been taken in securing the products.

Visit www.getsafeonline.org/connectedhome for further advice.

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