3 reasons your Smart Homes need a VPN

By Bradly Spicer •  Updated: 11/12/20 •  8 min read

Running a Smart Home Over VPN

Before we go into setting up a Smart Home over VPN, it’s important to understand the benefits and cons and why you should or shouldn’t use a Smart Home over VPN.

What is a Smart Home?

Should you use a VPN for your Smart Home
Photo by Petter Lagson on Unsplash

A few years ago, phones were only touch-tone that we used to communicate. Today, however, we have smartphones that enable us to do multiple tasks like playing games, paying bills and watching movies among other benefits.

These benefits of smart devices are expanding rapidly into our everyday life into our homes.

Every day, thousands of people are buying smart household devices powered by the Internet-of-Things.

Devices powered by IoT enable the owners of a home to control them from whatever part of the world.

A Smart TV is able to record a football game for the owner to watch later when the owner is out all from the comfort of the user’s phone or voice assistant

A Smart Coffee machine in addition can also be started from the comfort of your bed using an application in your phone.

What is the Internet of Things?

IoT is a network of modern devices that can connect to the internet. These devices can then be remotely controlled through applications in a smartphone.

The devices can include things like inbuilt sound systems and automated lights. An application can be used to control the temperate of the room or your surveillance cameras using a phone, i-pad or laptop.

All mundane devices in our homes like the refrigerator or coffee maker are all being automated. Therefore, all the questions and concerns in regards to smart homes have to be raised now.

Smart homes are already here and each day were all getting closer and closer into having fully automated homes.

Thus, we are forced to assess the risks that come with the benefits of the great asset that IoT has become in our everyday life.

The reality of today has shown us that the internet is not really such a safe space.

Therefore, if we are bringing these internet-powered devices into our homes, we have to be concerned about safety from malicious users of the internet like hackers.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a software that enables safe and secure control and connection of the automated system of a home. The software allows the homeowner to encrypt the data being transmitted by smart devices on the internet.

Any information sent between the smart device and the VPN server is encrypted making the data unreadable to outside prying eyes. All this is done through a process referred to as “tunnelling”.

The only person that can decipher the tunnel is the owner that holds the security keys of the private VPN connection. The VPN gets rid of features that provide direct access to hackers by allocating the owner a virtual IP.

If a hacker in any way is able to get their hands on the virtual IP, they would run into immense security systems put in place by the VPN provider. It is then nearly impossible for the hacker to break into your IoT environment.

Therefore, A VPN is an important technological tool that ought to be incorporated as we grow the number of smart devices in our homes.

To gauge how important, we ought to look at the threats and risks associated with the use of IoT-enabled devices in our homes.

Why you should use a VPN in your smart home

Running a Smart Home over VPN is a great way to only allow certain traffic through your network, this also allows you to connect third party devices to one network over a VPN.

To safeguard your home from unauthorized access.

If a hacker is able to gain access into one tiny device in your home. They get their hands on every personal information that can be accessed online.

These hackers have all your details and can easily track you thus stealing your car or breaking into your house would not be difficult.

Having a VPN is useful in ensuring that your personal details cannot be decrypted or your location cannot be tracked.

Protecting your privacy rights

Our devices like our phones especially with the overgrowing AI, tech compsnies know more about us than our closest friends.

AI today tracks everything we do to a point that it can predict our behaviour patterns.

This can be used by a hacker to create a profile of you and your family. Having a VPN is useful in ensuring that your personal details remain private.

Protecting your cameras.

One of the threats facing IoT devices was surveillance through web cameras.

The case of hackers infiltrating baby monitors and interacting with the babies alarmed many users of these devices.

A VPN is able to provide protection of data being transmitted from cameras to ensure that intruders cannot gain access.

What should I consider when picking a VPN?

There are a lot of VPN providers in the market today. It is therefore a bit tricky to pick the best provider that suits your preferences, requirements and pocket.

There are a few considerations to put in mind when picking a Smart Home over VPN provider that best secures your devices.

The VPN should be compatible with your router for it to be installed. Some VPNs may not be compatible or might have complex instructions for installation.

The VPN should also have complex encryption to ensure security. Additionally, the provider should have a complex and reliable privacy protection system to ensure that the provider is also liable if they leak your information.

The provider should also have no restrictions when it comes to usage as it is unreasonable for a smart home owner.

Lastly, the VPN should not slow internet connections thus, you should pick one with the fastest connection speed.

IoT devices have become a normal aspect of our daily lives in our growing modern lifestyles.

Technology is also growing exponentially meaning that very soon each home will be fully automated.

It is thus important for each consumer to take measures in protecting and securing their privacy.

Incorporating a VPN is one of the most important tools in doing this. It might not be a foolproof solution as there are other risks involved in the IoT environment. However, it is better than doing nothing.

The VPN ensures that the data transmitted is encrypted and secure giving the owner an assurance that their devices cannot be hacked into.

Additionally, with a VPN, backtracking of your data cannot be done thus it protects identification of your physical location.

A VPN diminishes the risks posed by organizations, governments and hackers against unaware users of smart home devices and appliances.

Therefore, we can safely advance into making our lives at home more enjoyable and easier at home.

Why IoT-enabled devices are not secure

A number of IoT devices contain inbuilt security features like home CCTV cameras and alarms.

These security systems are provided by the manufacturer and are mostly basic and lacking adequate sophistication.

On the other hand, smaller IoT devices in our homes barely have any security systems as they barely seem threatening.

These devices big or small present a huge security risk to home owners as they can be easily compromised by hackers.

We are thus forced to question why these IoT-devices are barely secure.

The first and major reason is to do with the manufacturing costs. When IoT devices were first introduced into the market, they were quite pricy and could barely be afforded.

Therefore, the manufactures had to quickly minimize these costs. To an amount close if not the same as the price that people were already used to paying.

Thus, security systems especially complex ones are ignored to minimize the manufacturing costs. Another reason for the lack of security systems in smart home devices is size.

Therefore, with size and most importantly price not being advantageous to the manufacturers pocket, it seizes to be a huge priority to them. The consumer thus ignorantly suffers the consequences.

How you can make your IoT devices secure from hackers

Internet of Things IoT hacker

There are many risks that the internet presents to IoT devices and the lack of serious concern from the manufacturers does not help.

The consumers take on the responsibility of having to safeguard and secure their IoT devices without sufficient information on how to do this. This dilemma can however be easily solved.

The most effective preventive and management tool that can be implemented is incorporating a VPN.

The VPN has to be installed in the network to ensure that the IoT infrastructure is sufficiently protected.

This means that the VPN is deployed on the Wi-Fi router where the IoT devices communicate.

The devices connecting to the Wi-Fi are then routed through an external VPN server thus the communication facilitated through these devices is encrypted.

Bradly Spicer

I'm a Smart Home and IT Enthusiast that loves to check out new technology and gadgets! I enjoy reading your experiences and news, so if you want to share anything or chat smart homes, definitely send me an email!