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Make Sure Your Smart Home Is A Safe Home. What You Need To Know

Published: May 16, 2023 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

Most of us would agree living in a connected world has its perks. Otherwise known as the IoT (Internet of Things) all devices using the internet are IoT-connected. But what happens when some devices, especially those in smart homes, jeopardize the security of their users? Knowing how to safely and securely run smart home devices is the best answer to that question.

The security that smart homes are expected to provide can backfire in unpredictable and disturbing ways. From video doorbells to interior cameras (including baby monitors) to appliances, all are vulnerable to abuse and digital theft. Those using older or cheaper devices in a smart home are most vulnerable to compromise. Yet, even homes with the latest and most pricey smart devices are open to attack.

Many smart home dwellers report their devices seem to have a mind of their own, and a disturbing mind at that. In 2020, those in a class-action lawsuit against Amazon Ring shared their experiences using the popular video doorbell. One Ring user says while watching TV, Ring asked “what are you watching,” while another reported being terrorized by screaming, obscenity-laced murder threats, and another said the device insisted his children move closer to the camera.

If being harassed by smart home devices isn’t enough, hackers can also steal PII (personally identifiable information) for cybercrimes like fraud, financial theft, phishing, and installing malware. Smart devices are usually linked to a home’s WiFi connection, giving bad actors 24-7 access to a home network.

A few tips can help keep the creeps out of your smart home:

  • Always change the device default settings when setting up new products, especially for passwords. NordVPN research finds 64.9% of users don’t change the default password, unknowingly giving cyber intruders easy access to their homes.

  • Make sure all passwords are strong and unique and change them periodically.

  • Use two networks in your home since most routers have the option. Jim Stickley of Stickley on Security recommends segmenting networks as the safest, smartest choice for connecting all devices. He advises using one network for all smart devices and one for personal devices like laptops and computers. That way, if an IoT device is hacked, the network for personal use isn’t at risk.

Since hackers regard smart homes as easy prey, using these devices safely is the beginning of a truly smart home.

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