The purpose of everything going ‘smart’ is to make your life easier. To allow you to control a whole host of devices and appliances from your trusty smartphone. You could run the world from your smartphone and what a world that would be. That said, there are some pitfalls to connecting your home and making it ‘smart’ and this article will explore the potential risks of digitizing your life for ease and convenience.
What is a smart home?
Firstly to ensure you are on the same page it is important to understand what is meant by a smart home. The terminology essentially means that your home has a system that will connect your appliances to undertake tasks and a specific time. This system is usually remotely controlled via your smartphone or device.
An example of this could be your home’s heating system. A smart heating system will be connected to the internet and controlled via an app on your phone. From your phone, you will be able to control the functions of your heating system, such as setting the temperature, the time it is activated, and the duration of activation.
Smart devices in your home
If you take a look around, chances are you are connected to more smart devices than you think. The watch on your wrist, is that smart? Do you use Alexa or Google Home? What about your children’s toys? they can even be controlled by your phone over WiFi. The smarter your home becomes the greater the cybersecurity threat. Here is a list of some unsuspecting devices that could, unknowingly, be putting you and your home at risk.
Your smart TV can be hacked and used for spying or moving malware to other connected devices. This can result in some mostly harmful but annoying interference such as channel changing or remotely controlling your TV to more serious offenses such as gleaning payment information, personal data or spying on your household via a TV camera.
Smart baby monitors are a wonderful invention for parents as they allow you to monitor your baby’s movements remotely. However, hackers can gain access to smart baby monitors and use them to communicate to people in the home or trigger connected alarm systems.
Smart security systems can also be hacked and the entire system can be taken over by ill-intending users, putting your home at risk.
Your smartphone itself may not be as secure as you think it is and if a hacker has gained access to your smartphone the potential damage they could cause or information they could appropriate could be catastrophic.
With all of the technology used by cars today, it has never been easier to gain access to a car. You no longer need to break a window and hotwire a motor to get it moving. Hackers can use sophisticated software to not only gain access to your car without a key but to get it moving also.
How to protect yourself and your devices
Let’s face it you’re not going to go without your smart devices, they are too useful and provide too many benefits. But there are steps you can take to limit our risk exposure, and here are some of the best;
- Register your device or sign up to the manufacturer’s mailing list. Should there be any security breaches or essentially upgrades to keep your device safe you will be the first to know about it.
- Change your phone’s IP address. Although smartphones are thought to be so smart they are not as vulnerable to attack as other devices they certainly are not failsafe. As mentioned the repercussions of your smartphone being hacked can be grave. If you have privacy concerns or are mindful of cybersecurity threats then you can consider changing your IP address on your phone, making it almost impossible for hackers to gain access, here is how to change IP address on iPhone.
- Install any updates or security patches as soon as they are released. Security patches will have been released in response to a security weakness or loophole so take swift action. Software that isn’t updated is much more vulnerable to attack.
- Never keep the manufacturer’s default password. Always use your own and ensure that it is a ‘strong’ password. Always use a passcode on your smartphone and watch.
- Downloads and apps should only be done from official stores or trusted sites.
- Do not click on unrecognizable links.
- Install a firewall and antivirus software.