Updated: Jun 18
The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in smart homes has become mainstream now - and these devices have made our lives a lot easier. The concept of smart homes has become quite trendy as anything with electricity can be connected to the internet for remote access.
For example, in a smart home, you don’t need to go to the kitchen or fill your kettle to prepare coffee in the morning. Instead, simply schedule your smart coffeemaker and enjoy a fresh brew as soon as you wake up.
Seems amazing, doesn’t it?
However, as the number of internet-connected devices has increased, so has the potential targets for hackers - leading to cybersecurity threats. With more than 13 billion IoT devices worldwide, imagine the amount of data smart coffeemakers, bulbs, alarms, and fridges collect. They serve as a honeypot for cybercriminals - this is where the need for a good VPN comes in.
What is a VPN?
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that helps you connect to your smart home devices securely. This software encrypts your online data by passing it through a VPN tunnel - thus making your data untraceable to anyone who is trying to snoop outside your network.
With a VPN, you don’t have to worry about hackers getting access to your data. A VPN masks your real IP address and gives you a fake one so no one can trace your internet traffic - making you invisible online.
There are a lot of VPNs in the market that you can use, like ExpressVPN. Among top VPN service providers, ExpressVPN is ranked number one due to its military-grade encryption and really cool security features. You can go for other VPN providers as well, however, if you want to try ExpressVPN, you can claim ExpressVPN’s 30 days free trial and test the service yourself, free of cost. You can even get your money back risk-free.
Why Do You Need a VPN for Your Smart Home?
As discussed above, smart home devices are not as safe as you think them to be. These devices pose serious cybersecurity threats. Here are some important reasons why you need a VPN for smart home devices and systems:
It may be surprising to you, but your smart coffee machines are brewing more than just coffee as they collect a lot of data that you cannot begin to imagine. In September 2020, Martin Hron, a senior researcher at Avast, attempted to hack a smart coffee machine connected to the WiFi - and he was successful, to say the least. If he could do it, any hacker can access your smart home appliances with ease.
Hron was also able to create a massive machine malfunction that could only be stopped if the target paid a ransom. Yes, you read that right; hackers can set up a ransomware attack on a coffee machine! This is just one device; imagine the security risks posed by your smart home systems where everything is connected to a single network. In such cases, VPN can be the online privacy tool that helps you secure your devices.
2. Privacy Risks
As mentioned earlier, smart home devices store a lot of information like emails, passwords, and even credit card information. If your connection is not secured with a VPN, hackers can steal personal information posing some serious privacy risks. Once hackers get their hands on personal information, they can sell it on the black market which ultimately leads to identity theft.
Identity theft is when someone steals your private information like name, address, date of birth, passport details, and more. This identity can be used for illegal activities. But, with a VPN, you can secure your personal data from identity theft.
3. Surveillance Risks
Losing your personal information is one thing, but imagine if someone can see what you are doing in your house at any time. Yes, smart home devices pose surveillance risks as hackers can easily access smart home cameras like baby monitors, laptops, and surveillance systems on an unprotected network. What’s worse is that your surveillance video can be live-streamed anywhere without you knowing about it.
Additionally, hackers can also access your lighting system and HVAC, posing a serious threat to your life. In 2020, more than 50,000 home security cameras were hacked in Singapore, and the footage was then uploaded on pornographic sites. Surveillance risk is not only posed by security cameras but all devices with a camera like Smart TVs, smartphones, laptops, and more.
How to Protect your Smart Homes from Hackers
While the risks posed by smart home devices are grave, the simple way to secure your devices from hackers is to use a VPN to protect your entire network. A VPN is perhaps the best and simplest way to keep your IoT devices safe and secure. To protect your devices, you simply need to install the VPN on your router to connect all devices on the internet.
Once you have a VPN on your Wi-Fi router, all devices connected to the internet will be protected as it encrypts your data, securing it from the prying eyes of cybercriminals. A VPN is a powerful tool to ensure your online security and privacy when it comes to smart homes. With a VPN, you can rest assured that your smart home setup cannot be compromised.
About the Author:
Allen Dom, a cybersecurity enthusiast in the realm of cyberspace. As a little boy, he used to love reading books like Pattern Recognition and The Peripheral fascinated him, imagining a world that is science fiction and isn't simply based on real-world phenomenon. As time passed, he started gaining interest in cyberspace. So, Allen started his career in the mystic field of cybersecurity and ethical hacking.