Follow on to yesterday’s security thoughts…

Yesterday I talked about the somewhat scary reality of security. I am not a security person I have just spent a lot of time around security people. I don’t play one on TV but I know many high-level security people.

That said, I don’t want people to despair. There are simple things you can do that will reduce your personal risk. You can’t remove your risk, but you can reduce it quite a bit.

1. The minute you get a router at home change the password. Change the password both of the router itself (management software) and OF THE WPA key. Do that in the first five minutes that router is on-line. Make sure it is a password you will not forget. Change the WPA key as well. You don’t have to change the SSID. Someone will find your wi-fi if they are looking, the goal is to make it harder for them to connect.

2. Set-up a second wi-fi router and connect all the home automation and smart devices to the second internet connection. The majority of time you are connecting to automated devices from your smart device anyway. So, make it a separate network and a different Wi-Fi system. That way you are at least able to do the final security measure. Post attack, simply take the power cord out of your hacked router.

There are a number of other security things you can do that are easy. These two are the most quickly effective solutions. The other thing to do is literally walk around the perimeter of your house with a laptop and see what your wi-fi looks like to your neighbors.

Just that added to the first two helps you. I know, for example, that I can see my network to the middle of the road that is right behind our back yard. I cannot see my network at the Condo’s that are on the other side of the road. But I can clearly see my wi-fi network in the middle of that road. There is a sidewalk next to the road on my side and the other side, so from a security perspective knowing when people are standing in front of my hosue is a good idea (and when they are standing beyond my hosue) The problem with home security in my perspective is the landscaping behind my hosue. Ultimately I suspect neighborhoods will have to band together to share video feeds. Knowing where your WI-FI ends is critical for securing your home network. Someone doesn’t have to be lurking to be hacking. Simply have a dog with you makes it appear that you are walking your dog. Or, if your Wi-Fi goes too far, they can simply sit in a car, appearing to be waiting for someone. Good security isn’t just changing your passwords it is knowing the edges of your system as well!

That or I need to hide video cameras on my privacy fence. That might be the faster solution. I can clearly see the field of Wi-Fi for the rest of my hosue area. It would just be the one area beyond the privacy fence and the trees that I cannot see.

Home network security has to be a set and forget security you can easily change. You can’t spend hours every day worried about your home network security. Even better passwords and changing them from time to time is a good idea. Remember every device you own, that is connected to your home network has that with it, everywhere it goes. While you may have some level of device security it has two-fold impact on your if the device is lost or stolen.

1. The hacker cracks your numeric password (by simply looking at the smudge pattern on the device screen to determine the most pressed numbers).

2. You shut off the IMEI, so there is no cellular, but the wi-fi is still there.

Security is a do the best you can, be consistent and always have a failsafe. If your system is compromised be able to isolate any IoT device or any other device. Powering off a device or removing its network connection removes the control. Once it is off-line you can evaluate what to do with the device. Worst case, reset it completely and do not reconnect it until you have changed all the passcodes in your system. (Router, WPA and of course the device itself). Make your passwords passphrases as those are harder to crack and easier to remember.

Pass Phrases such as TodayisthelastdayIamhacked16 make for a great WPA password that you can easily remember.

Good security is doing the best you can.


Automation explorer…

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