The High-Risk Dangers of Smart Home Devices

Darrell Smith April 30, 2020

Smart Home Hubs
These units are generally used to connect all your smart home devices together on your network.  These units can also be a massive weak link for hackers to take advantage of.  Many times, these central devices have weak passwords, no passwords, or just the default password that it came with.  It is very easy for a hacker to gain control of your smart home devices once they have access to your smart home hub.  It is imperative that this major link to all your smart devices is well protected by a strong complicated password.
Home Surveillance Cameras
How would you feel when you find out that your family and home are being watched 24/7 without you knowing? 
This is happening to many unsuspecting families who installed surveillance cameras for security.  The security and protection they thought they were getting is dangerously opposite.  All you have to do is go online and do a search, there are websites that have a plethora of compromised home surveillance cameras that can be watched 24/7.    These families don’t even know they are being watched!  Furthermore, hackers can control these cameras by shutting them on and off which can allow for unrecorded break-ins, they can edit the recordings, research how many family members there are, view license plates (this can be used to track down your address), even talk or scream through the speakers to upset and scare family members.
Smart Door Locks, Lights, and Garage doors
Smart door locks can have unidentified security loopholes that a hacker can take advantage of.  Integrated third party apps that control the lights in your home and open/close the garage door can allow others to gain control of them if they are not setup with secure authorization.  Use only authorized apps to help mitigate the issue of having a hacker take control.
Smart Home Thermostats and Appliances
How great it is to control the comfort of your home through your network from anywhere?  Except when you arrive home and your house is so hot or so cold that you feel like you just stepped into a desert or the arctic.  Just imagine the high cost of your gas and/or electric bill at the end of the month. The smart appliances within the home can also be used maliciously, such as a hacker turning up the heat on your oven to cause a fire.  Changing the temperature setting of your refrigerator to cause spoilage of the food inside could be accomplished as well. 
Smart Speakers
Smart home speakers can be used by hackers to access previous recordings, listen to family members, gather information on purchases, use them to speak through and scare you, access credit/debit card information, even order products (like a big screen tv).  Many home users order groceries and other products through these devices which have your credit/debit card information stored to make it convenient to order items you need/want.  But that convenience makes your information vulnerable.  Smart home speakers can also be used to control the other smart devices throughout the home.  So, you can see how a breach of one of the key smart devices can allow a hacker full control of all the other devices that are linked to it.
Take Action Now to Help Protect You and Your Family

  1.  Choose strong passwords, the longer the better for all your smart home devices.  Use different passwords for critical access points such as your email, online banking, internet router, smart hub, smart speakers etc..  A minimum of 16 characters is recommended.  But if your forgetful like I am, using a password manager to generate and remember the passwords for you.
  2. Purchase smart home devices that have 2 step verification or 2 factor authentication and be sure to use it.
  3. Research all brands that you are considering to install to be sure they have high security checks and balances.  Also be certain to enable and setup all the security measures they offer.  E.g. nest has 2 step verification but many don’t use this extremely important security option.
  4. Always be sure that these devices are updated frequently to close up any security loopholes that were realized by the manufacturer.  If possible, have them update automatically.

Dangers, devices, home, homes, of, smart

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