It seems since the development of Internet of Things (IoT), that smart home technology is becoming more popular. There is little doubt that smart home tech is making life easier and more convenient. But, how secure is it? Can smart home Technology be hacked? The IoT concept has been criticized for lack of privacy and security concerning connected devices.
What is IoT
Before we talk about smart homes, I think a quick explanation of what Internet of Things (IoT) is needed. The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically using the internet to connect physical devices and everyday things. Connected devices have internet
connectivity capabilities and other hardware such as sensors that allow them to communicate with each other over the internet. The connected devices can be controlled and monitored remotely. The IoT can be used for wireless sensor systems and factory automation. This technology can also be used for building and home automation.
Smart Home Systems
There are many smart home products. There are baby monitors, door bells, and thermostats just to name a few. You can control your homes lights and close or open your garage door. You can check to see if you left your front door unlocked. Doing laundry has become easier with the development of smart washers and dryers. You can start a load of laundry remotely. The washer can start its cleaning cycle during off-peak hours and help you save money on utility bills. These machines can also tell you when something is wrong
and a repair may be needed. There are also models that do both the washing and the drying.
Making Life Easier
There is no doubt that smart home tech makes life a lot easier and convenient. Picture as you arrive home, after a hard day at work, the garage door opens automatically when your house senses that you are close and the lights to the house come on. Your favorite music is playing as you walk in and your home is nice and warm after dealing with a cold snowy winter day. Dinner smells great which was prepared with the help of your smart slow cooker. You get in the shower which is preset to a comfortable temperature. After you’ve had dinner and your all settled in, you can watch your favorite TV show which was recorded on your smart TV. Just sit back and enjoy the convenience.
Another scenario is that you get home after a long day at work and the garage door is closed and not responding to the remote opener. The lights to the house are not on either. Maybe you programmed the timer incorrectly. You walk in to your house and you realize that the heat is not on. As you’re trying to figure out what is going on, the security alarm goes off. The alarm system didn’t automatically turn off when it sensed your phone like it was supposed to. Now the police are on there way as you’re still trying to make sense of what is happening. Unfortunately your smart home has been hacked and someone has taken control of it.
How Did You Get Hacked?
Unfortunately, hacking smart home gadgets is not very difficult. Many smart home devices have little to no device security features. It seems that many home devices use a default username and password. If hackers can gain the serial number to your particular model, they will be able to hack the device. Even if you change the password, the manufacturer doesn’t require strong passwords. There seems to be a few security holes in many smart home tech products. Gaining access to some devices may allow a hacker further access to other devices in your home. This is an additional avenue in which a hacker can install malware on your devices. But, it can be as simple as someone trying to break in and steal from you. They could guess when you’re going to be home by looking at the presets on your thermostat for example.
There are a few ways to protect your smart home from hackers.
Secure your router; many routers allow you to set up multiple networks so you can set up your smart devices on a WiFi network separate from your computer or smartphone.
Inventory all your IoT devices; not all smart devices need to constantly be connected to the internet. For example smart TV’s and game systems.
Check for updates; make sure your devices are updated and set them up to update automatically.
Change the default passwords; you would be surprised at how many people never change the default password on their smart devices. And make sure, that it is a strong password. If a hacker knows the model of your smart device, they can get into your system if they know the default password.
Check your home security system; security systems today can be controlled through an app. Make sure you have a strong password to get into the app
Control your smart hub; Amazon Echo or Google Home have built in microphones. If they are not secure, it is quite possible that anyone can listen in on your private conversations. Learn how to turn the microphones on these devices off. Another issue with smart hubs is that they usually control multiple devices making your entire smart home vulnerable if hacked.
Get a firewall; there are smart firewalls specifically for IoT devices. Experts suggest getting firewalls because many of the manufacturers of IoT devices haven’t addressed security issues
It seems to me that technology is supposed to make life easier. And, it definitely seems that way with smart home tech. But with the newer conveniences, brings the need for more security awareness. There will always be people that are looking for a way to steal from you. Making it necessary to stay one step ahead of them. Smart home tech is really cool. Just be aware of the security limitations and protect yourself, your home, and your loved ones.