No matter how intelligent they claim to be, many smart home gadgets are vulnerable to hackers. Nowadays even the lock on your front door is susceptible to a cyberattack. No longer do you only have to worry about someone simply picking the lock, now a burglar could go through cyberspace to unlatch the door.
Just like the lock on your front door to keep out burglars, you should protect your high-tech devices from cyber threats. Start by choosing different passwords for your internet router and each of your smart devices. It is also important to use multi-factor authentication as an added protection to prevent a hacker who guesses your password from breaking into your home. You should regularly install manufacturer updates to make sure you are running the most current security system in your home.
Ovum's "Smart Home Devices Forecast: 2016–21" found that the largest smart home markets will be China and the US, because of high availability of devices and greater consumer interest in smart home services and products. Device sales will grow to more than 1.4 billion units by 2021, up from 224 million in 2016, driven particularly by sales of security devices, such as cameras, door locks, and sensors, and by utilities devices, such as connected light bulbs and smart thermostats. Ovum predicts that each smart home household will use on average 8.7 devices, bringing the total smart home active installed base to 4 billion devices.
In the matter of the Dyn situation, it was those Internet of Things devices that created the voluminous distributed denial of sevice attack. A DVR was used to attack Dyn’s network. To reduce the impact of such attacks, officials at InsuranceQuotes have noted some of the more popular smart home gadgets in your home that could be vulnerable.
The smart hub: This is the virtual key to your home. It serves as the central monitoring station that all of your smart home devices connect to, and alerts emergency responders when something is wrong. By hacking into the Hub, cyber criminals can gain entry to your home. Smart Hubs can fall victim to jammers that block the signal between your various smart gadgets and the Hub. So make sure they come with anti-jamming software that detects these intrusions.
Smart surveillance cameras: These cameras monitor your home for burglars, but they can also give cyber criminals a peek inside. This could help burglars figure out when you are away from home, and where you hide your most valuable possessions. Protect your home by choosing a difficult password and setting up multi-factor authentication, so they won’t have eyes inside your home.
Smart locks: These locks are designed to secure your home from burglars, but some are prone to hacking. Secure your home by changing your password often and setting up multi-factor authentication, so intruders can’t walk right in the front door. Also, make sure you have an old fashioned, hard key as a backup, in case of total failure.
Smart garage doors: These garage doors conveniently open when you’re heading home from the grocery store, or a long day at work. But they have also proven to be vulnerable to hackers, who can gain access to your home through the garage. Protect your garage by choosing a difficult password and always have a manual way to access the area.
Smart thermostats: These thermostats make it easy to adjust the temperature in your home without getting out of bed. But they are also vulnerable to hackers, who can make your life miserable by cranking up the heat in the summer, or running the air conditioning in the winter. Protect yourself from pranksters by encrypting your password and setting up multi-factor authentication.
Smart lights: These lights come in handy when you’re at work and realize you left the kitchen lights on. But if they fall into the wrong hands, a hacker could keep you up all night — not to mention, raise your electricity bill — by flicking the lights on and off. Or, they could cut the lights before a break-in. Stay in control of your lights by changing your password frequently and setting up multi-factor authentication.
Smart baby monitors: These monitors help new parents keep an eye on their infants in the bedroom, but these gadgets have also fallen victim to numerous hackers, who reportedly scream at babies and play loud music. They could also provide on-the-ground intelligence to prospective kidnappers. Keep your children safe by changing your password often and turning it off when not using the monitor.
Not everyone is onboard with the smarthome
A survey by Assurant of 2,500 Americans showed that two-thirds believe the benefits of connected technologies outweigh the negatives. However, within that survey they found there is some trepidation by users. Twenty-seven percent said they were fearful that the home smart device would break and be expensive to replace or repair; 24% said the product didn't perform as expected; and 21% were worried that there was insufficient self-help for troubleshooting issues.
The survey respondents were also asked about what fears they have of smarthomes. They were afraid of identity theft by criminal hackers (65% were concerned or fearful); 62% - cyberattacks on America's web infrastructure; 51% - email or social media account hacking; and 42% - Eavesdropping by foreign governments.