Smart Home Technology Risks and Prevention

Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds over the years and has made our lives easier on almost every front. The many forms of smart tech around our homes, from smart speakers to doorbells, have created a world where we can do and see anything from the touch of our fingertips or the sound of our voice. However, while having the ability to turn up the heat in your home by pressing a button on your smartphone may be nice, this convenience is not without its risks.

Basically, if a piece of tech is wired or plugged in, it can be hacked, and that goes for the smart appliances around your home. Vigilance is necessary to protect your privacy and your data, and luckily, there are many ways to do just that. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of smart tech and how you can keep your family protected.

Convenience Can Be the Risk

Smart technology has effectively changed how we live our lives and protect our homes. Currently, you can use a smart speaker to direct your smart door to lock or turn down the temperature in the living room by two degrees with your smart thermostat. You can also use your smartphone to talk to visitors that approach your front door through your smart doorbell, even when you are miles away.

This amazing tech is connected by the Internet of Things, which is a network of various technologies that allow us to control our devices from a central hub, like your phone or smart speaker. It is very convenient to be able to run your household without leaving the couch, but if you don’t properly secure your devices, then hackers could take advantage of that connection and make their way to your computer, where they can steal your data or install a virus.

That same issue goes for how you set up your home to ensure your safety. The home security system that you use to protect yourself can also be a gateway for malicious actors. Those who really value their property like to go all out with an extensive home security package that includes all the bells and whistles, such as motion sensors and security cameras, and it makes us feel confident when we leave the house. However, if a hacker were to gain control of those same cameras, they could use them to view your home and see when you aren’t there, which could lead to break-ins or worse. The lesson is that smart tech must be paired with responsible usage to truly serve its purpose.

Smart Tech Risks

To properly secure your smart devices, you need to know all of the potential threats and reasons why hackers would want to break into your smart fridge or other tech in the first place. It all comes down to finding one weak access point that cybercriminals can use to make their way into your computer or smartphone. 

As mentioned, once they get inside of your primary devices, hackers can see and steal your personal data, and almost any information you have can be used for malicious means. Hackers can use credit card and social security numbers to take out fraudulent loans, and they can even use your email address to send out dangerous phishing emails or sell it on the black market. 

If your home is unsecured, then hackers could also take control of your smart devices and damage your appliances or even cause harm to your family. For instance, a hacker with malicious intent could take control of your smart thermostat and break a connection inside and make it inoperable, so you couldn’t turn on the heat in the winter. A hacker could also install ransomware on your smart devices, which would prevent you from using them until you pay a hefty fee. This is particularly dangerous because if a cybercriminal were able to take control of your smart door locks and prevent you from going inside until you pay them money, that could put your family in danger.

Those are just a few of the many risks associated with unsecured smart tech. If that weren’t enough, hackers can also take control of your smart speaker and listen to your private conversations or use the GPS tracking software in your smartphone to track your every move. These scenarios are frightening, and they can happen if you don’t implement proper security steps today.

Overall Protection

The good news about smart tech security is that you don’t need to be a computer science expert to stay protected. You just need to implement some common-sense solutions. For instance, every device must have a password that is as random as possible with a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. It can be tempting to use passwords that are easy to remember, like the name of your pet or best friend, but hackers can easily guess that information by combing your social media or hacking your other devices for clues.

You also need to be smart with device management. Whenever you are alerted of a software update for your smart device, make sure to install the new version as soon as possible, as you will then be protected against the latest threats. When you first enable your smart device, you should also take a careful look at the settings and turn off any that allow the device to share your personal information. If your kids set up their own smart devices, make sure to check those as well.

After that, it all comes down to taking the same precautions that most people use to protect their computers. Install antivirus software and be sure to run scans every week so you can detect and eliminate existing threats. It is also a good idea to install and enable a virtual private network (VPN) on your computer and smartphone, which will encrypt your data and disguise your location for additional protection.

In the end, we live in a great world where technology is always at our fingertips, but if we are not careful, that convenience can create dangerous vulnerabilities. Consider the steps above and use your smart devices with confidence. 

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