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Are Your Smart Home Devices Secure?

September 14, 2023

Wondering how secure your Smart TV and Smarthome devices are? Don’t risk having your data stolen—we share some tips here.

Devices with “Smart” technologies like watches that track exercise, and Smarthome devices like Alexa and Google Home have become part of our everyday life this past decade. These devices, otherwise known as applications of “The Internet of Things” or IoT, come with some security risks. Here is how to protect yourself.

What is the internet of things?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a development of the Internet in which everyday objects (“things”) have network connectivity, meaning that any device can essentially send and receive data to the other.

Common applications of the IoT are FitBit or Apple Watch devices and Smarthome devices such as Alexa, Echo and Google Home. The IoT supports a developing technological world, in which everything will eventually be connected, meaning, for most, easier and more efficient methods of living and doing business will be possible, too.

What are the security risks?

Smart home devices can pose a threat to privacy. The information gathered by these devices can be used to build detailed profiles of users, including information about their habits, preferences, and even their precise whereabouts. This data can be marketed to external entities or leveraged for precision-targeted advertisements. In addition, hackers can gain access to this data through a breach, heightening the risk for cybercrime (including identity theft). The listening feature of these devices can be used to record conversations without the user’s consent, which might include sensitive financial information.

What can you do to help protect your personal information?

  • Use strong passwords. If you use the same password for every account, consider a change. Once a hacker successfully gains access to one account, it will only take seconds for him/her to use that same password to gain access to your other accounts. Your bank account password is especially sensitive- be sure to use a unique combination of numbers, symbols, upper and lower case letters. Never use the default usernames and passwords on your smart home devices. Password managers such as LastPass will help you remember all your passwords.
  • If at all possible, only use applications offering MFA. Most, if not all sites offer multi-factor authentication (“MFA”) as an option where personal information is involved. Make sure you elect to utilize MFA.
  • Don’t use open Wi-Fi and make sure that your own network is secure. Make sure that the Wi-Fi you use requires a strong password. Try not to broadcast the name of your Wi-Fi network (SSID). When you are out and about, don’t use the free, non-encrypted Wi-Fi- you never know who’s connected to it at the same time.
  • Monitor what smart devices are connected to your network. You can actually only take care of the smart devices you're familiar with. If you're a bit unsure about which ones they are, a neat trick is to switch off your WiFi and see which ones aren't functioning as expected.
  • Make sure that the devices you purchase allow you to change the password and privacy settings, and enable automatic updates.
  • Enable privacy options so you can limit the amount of information your smart device collects and shares. There are some that allow you to disable all information sharing capabilities.
  • Keep malware software up to date and run regular scans with the software. Aim to scan your system once each week.
  • Turn off listening devices when not in use. Devices like Alexa and GoogleHome, that act on voice commands are constantly listening if you do not turn off your microphone.

Questions? Contact us.

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