As more and more of our everyday devices get connected to the internet, the danger to our personal information increases. We’re all well-aware of protecting our computers and phones, but many of our household devices contain personal information and need to be protected as well. It’s important to secure smart devices from unwanted access.

Here are a few tips to secure smart devices.

1.) Secure your network. You should name your router and change the default password it comes with. Use a strong password that doesn’t contain any personally relevant words or numbers. Use a secure encryption method such as WPA2 to connect to your network. Use a firewall designed to protect smart devices and always make sure to keep your routers firmware up to date.

2.)  Add a secondary network. Most modern routers allow you to setup secondary networks. Having a second network allows you to separate your home desktop/laptop/phone from your other smart devices. You can also use a secondary network to give guests access to your internet connection without any access to your personal devices.

3.) Purchase smart devices from trusted sources or name brands. Cheaper, generic devices may not have gone through security testing to the same degree as trusted brands. Also, look for certifications such as “Works with Alexa” or “Works with Apple HomeKit”, as these show the device at least meets certain standards.

4.) Secure your devices. Smart devices also have software or firmware that needs to be kept up to date. Know what data the device collects and make sure you are comfortable with whatever it is collecting and whether that data is shared with the manufacturer. Also, look for devices secured with technology such as Z-wave which implements a very secure encrypted connection. When you setup your device, review the privacy policy, make sure to change any default settings and passwords. Also check any settings related to when and how cameras and microphones are turned on.

5.) Discard Carefully – Many smart devices store data, which may be personal. Follow the directions to do a factory reset and clear all personal information. If your device has an app, disconnect the device first and then completely remove the app from your phone or laptop.

Download a PDF summary of these tips to secure smart devices from Nationwide Private Client Services

About Overmyer Hall Associates

Overmyer Hall Associates is one of the fastest growing agencies in the country, quickly becoming one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in Central Ohio. Overmyer Hall Associates provides clients with insurance and risk management, specializing in Business Insurance, Surety Bonding, and Home & Auto Insurance. Since its founding in 2011, the firm has been awarded Columbus Business First’s "Fast 50" and "Best Places to Work" awards, the IIABA’s “Best Practices Agency” recognition, Columbus CEO Magazine’s “Best Insurance Broker” and the Columbus Young Professionals Club’s “Wonderful Workplace for Young Professionals” award.