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Home Automation Security: How to Safeguard Your Smart Home

Aug 01, 2023|

One of the most common questions around smart home security systems is: Are they really secure?

The answer? Absolutely.

But we can understand why people worry. And being exposed to news and social media reports on cyberattacks can compound the fear factor.

Creators of smart home technology are constantly developing new ways to make their smart home security devices more secure. At the end of the day, the chances of someone breaking through your smart security system are extremely slim.

But there are still some things that will make your smart home more secure.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • What common security vulnerabilities exist with smart home security systems.
  • The biggest ways to protect your home against security threats.
  • The best practices for maintaining a smart home security system.

Let’s now learn about the most common security threats that we see in smart homes and their very simple and effective security solutions.

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Top vulnerabilities in today's smart homes and how to tackle them

As we mentioned, security vulnerabilities exist. Knowing the most common vulnerabilities can help you better protect yourself against them.

Here are a few of the biggest vulnerabilities in smart home security gadgets and how to protect yourself:

  • Weak or default passwords. Your password is the first layer of defense against malware attacks. Always update your password to one that is unique and strong—default passwords just won’t cut it. Also, consider using an additional authentication method.
  • Outdated firmware and software. When you fail to update firmware and software on your security devices, holes can develop in your security. To get the most out of your IoT security, check regularly for updates and set up automatic security updates whenever possible.
  • Unsecured cloud storage and communication. When you fail to assign a password to your cloud storage and communication, it can give hackers access to your stored security video and personal data.
  • Physically unsecure devices. The more people that can physically access your devices, the less secure your smart home is. Make sure that all of your connected devices, including your router and Wi-Fi networks, are secure. This is a relatively simple solution, but it can have a profound effect on your security.

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Protecting your smart home

The great thing is that you don’t need a degree in computer science or cybersecurity to protect yourself from cyber criminals—you just need some basic understanding of how your network operates.

Here’s a few simple strategies to make your smart home more secure.

Network security

There are a couple of different ways that you can enhance your network security.


These security devices act as a barrier between your home network and a public network like the internet. The firewall monitors network traffic and prevents unauthorized access while only allowing authenticated traffic to enter.


For additional protection, you can also use a VPN, or virtual private network.

VPNs encrypt the information on your network so that even if someone were to intercept your private information, they wouldn’t be able to read your data.

Secondly, VPNs hide your IP address, which is the unique identifier that tells people who and where you are online. With your IP address hidden, hackers will be unable to track your online activity back to your home.

Router settings

There are also several router settings that you can change to make your home network more secure.

For starters, disable your router’s remote access, UPnP, and WPS. These are areas that can create vulnerabilities in your network.

Next, hide your SSID (service set identifier), which is the name of your Wi-Fi network. This can prevent unauthorized users from finding your network.

Finally, create a guest network for visitors to use. This will limit access to your personal network and protect your information.

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Device security

Then there’s the security on your individual devices—your second layer of defense.

Your IoT devices—smart door locks, smart TVs, and smart speakers like Amazon Alexa or Google Home—can be even more secure by following these steps to safeguard against security risks.

Let’s explore the two main ways that you can enhance the security of your devices.

Strong password

Choose a strong password that won’t be easy to guess or decode. This means at least 12 characters long with a healthy mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Avoid using personal information that people can find, such as your name, birthday, or anniversary.

And finally, change your password regularly. This will limit your device’s vulnerability.

Two-factor authentication (2FA)

This extra option allows you to set up a second way to confirm your identity. When using 2FA, you will enter your password and then receive a unique code that is sent to your phone number or email. Only once you enter this code will you be granted access.

Add passwords and 2FA to your security devices, including security cameras, smart thermostats, and video doorbells. In most cases, you can simply go into your device’s security settings, where you’ll find options to set up a password and 2FA.

In addition to these security measures, make sure to keep your devices’ firmware up to date so that you have all the latest security patches in place.

Data privacy and personal information

Now that you’ve secured your network and internet-connected devices, it’s time to limit access to your private information and sensitive information on your smart home devices.

Here are a few of the most important ways to protect your information:

  • Don’t share your passwords. Or limit the number of people who have your password to the most essential users. The more people who have your password, the bigger the chance other people could get their hands on it.
  • Don’t use the same passwords. Change up your passwords for your security devices to make sure that they’re different from your other devices and programs.
  • Manage your privacy settings. Your privacy settings allow you to set what your device can access at any time. For example, you can set restrictions on whether your device records your voice, tracks your location, or shares your information with third-party companies. Make sure to be conscious what access you allow in these settings to minimize security vulnerabilities.

This essential step not only keeps your home and loved ones safe but also guards you against identity theft and other dangers.

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Common smart home device attacks

Smart home devices, while convenient, can be vulnerable to various types of cyberattacks. Understanding these potential threats is the first step in safeguarding your home. Here are some common types of attacks targeting smart home devices:

Data breach and identity theft

One of the most significant risks in smart home security is a data breach, which can lead to identity theft. Hackers may access personal information stored on your devices, such as names, addresses, and financial details by exploiting security loopholes.

Device hijacking and spoofing

In device hijacking, attackers gain control of your smart devices, manipulating them for malicious purposes. Spoofing involves creating a fake device or network that appears legitimate to gain unauthorized access to your system.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS)

A DDoS attack overloads your network with traffic, causing it to shut down. Smart home devices are often targeted in such attacks, as they can be used as part of a botnet to attack other networks.


Phlashing is a less common but severe attack where the attacker damages the device's firmware, rendering it permanently unusable. This type of attack is also known as "bricking" a device.

AI-powered attacks

AI-powered attacks represent a sophisticated threat to smart home devices. These attacks use artificial intelligence to learn and adapt to your security measures, making them more effective at bypassing defenses.

They can include complex phishing schemes, where AI generates convincing fake messages, or AI-driven network attacks that evolve in real-time to exploit system vulnerabilities.

Advanced persistent threats (ATPs)

APTs are prolonged and targeted cyberattacks in which an intruder gains access to a network and remains undetected for a significant period. In the context of smart homes, this could mean unauthorized access to home networks where attackers gather sensitive data over time.

These threats are challenging to detect and can involve complex, multi-layered attacks using various entry points.

Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits are attacks that target previously unknown vulnerabilities in software or hardware. By the time the vulnerability is discovered and a patch is released, attackers may have already exploited it.

In smart home systems, this could mean exploiting unknown flaws in device firmware or software, allowing attackers to gain control or access sensitive data before users or manufacturers can react.

Best practices for smart home security

To combat these threats, here are some best practices you should follow:

  • Update your software regularly. We’ve said this before, but it’s important enough to repeat. Software updates and security patches are vital to a secure smart home.
  • Invest in reputable smart home devices. Reputable providers like Vivint go the extra mile to create smart home automation devices with top security features. Reputable providers will also stay on top of necessary updates to keep your devices secure for the long term.
  • Monitor your device activity. You’re the best judge of your activity. You are the one who will be able to recognize devices that don’t belong on your network or anything else that doesn’t look right.
  • Set up notifications for suspicious behavior. Certain security programs have algorithms to recognize suspicious behavior—anything outside of your normal activity. But you need to set them up to take full advantage of this.

Secure your home with Vivint

As a homeowner, you want to make sure that your home automation systems are completely secure. We hope this information about enhancing network and device security helps you to deal with security issues and protect yourself from malicious activity.

Would you like a smart home system with security that you can trust? Vivint is here for you.

Learn more about how Vivint’s smart devices and 24/7 home monitoring can protect your home and family from any security threat that comes your way.

Give us a call today at 855.822.1220.

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