The popularity of smart home technology is growing at a rapid pace, with approximately 44.7 million smart households in the U.S. alone. By connecting smart wiring devices, such as lights, cameras, refrigerators, and thermostats to the Internet, you are able to fully enjoy the convenience of virtual assistants, smart home security, and more. While integrated smart home devices provide a sense of security and comfort, many of the smart tools that we rely on at home can be easily hacked via the Internet or the apps that control them. Whether you have a smart home operating system throughout your house or just a simple voice assistant, it is important to be aware of the steps that you can take to ensure that no one can infiltrate your life.
How Can Smart Homes Be Hacked?
When you think about devices that are vulnerable to hacking, you probably do not consider your robotic vacuum or smart TV as an obvious target. A cybersecurity expert stated, “If it’s digital, it’s hackable”. Although these home devices can be made “smart”, that does not mean that they are safe from cyber criminals. The following list of common home automation devices can be susceptible to hackers:
- Voice control devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home
- Security cameras
- Smart doorbells and locks
- Smart TVs
- Wi-Fi enabled kitchen appliances (refrigerators, ovens, trashcans)
- Automated thermostats like Nest
- The automation apps on your mobile device, which you use to control all of these devices
The devices that are most at risk are outdoor devices such as garage door openers, wireless doorbells, and smart sprinklers. These typically come with embedded computers that support little to no security, and may be easily accessible to someone driving down the street with a computer or a Wi-Fi transmitter. These devices that can be controlled through an app from a smartphone or a computer, and because they rely on weak security tokens, they might be hacked due to weak communication protocols such as vulnerable entry-points left open by the vendor for maintenance. These devices include smart bulbs, baby monitors, smart thermostats, and personal home assistants. The least vulnerable appliances are smart refrigerators and ovens; though they are not likely to be hacked, it can still happen.
The integrated smart home system in your home can give hackers much more information than the contents of your fridge. Your home is potentially a gold mine for hackers who are seeking to access your personal information or spy on you and your family. An insecure network welcomes unwanted burglary, identity theft, and privacy violations. Therefore, it is in your best interest to consider the following advice if you have a smart home operating system in your home.
Smart Home Safety Tips
Secure Your Wi-Fi Network
Never use public Wi-Fi. Smart devices in your home should always be connected to a secure and private router. Make sure to purchase your home router from a reputable brand and choose a network name that does not automatically give away any personal details. You could also hide your network from view, an option that can typically be found in the router’s setting menu.
You could also choose to create a second network specifically for your devices. Many routers offer this setting, and it can help separate your devices from the same network that stores your sensitive information.
Create Better Passwords
Take your passwords seriously! We all have heard enough hacker horror stories to know how easy it is for your password to be compromised. Always use unique, hard to guess passwords with a variety of characters, numbers, and letters on all of your devices. It is best to make different passwords for each device because it decreases your chances of having more than one device hacked. You can simply use a secure password manager to help you keep track of all the passwords conveniently.
Consider Professional Installation
Trusted home security providers offer professional smart home installation with quality built-in smart home integration. Handling complicated technology and wiring can be tricky, so it is best to leave it up to the professionals to avoid overlooking any critical steps. Here at Installation King, our technicians are highly skilled, knowledgeable, and can handle any necessary hardwiring for you. They can also answer any questions you may have about more advanced security measures.