Is Your Smart Home Vulnerable to a Hack Attack?

By on Jul 30, 2020

Is Your Smart Home Vulnerable to a Hack Attack?

Your smart home device creates a computer network which can function as your incredibly convenient garage door opener, appliance manager, lighting designer, In-House DJ, and even security system supervisor, among many other selected duties. Yet cybersecurity experts frequently caution that this ultra-convenient home network provided through your smart devices may be vulnerable to malicious hackers looking to gain access to your home, and your most private information. In addition, the considers hacking of your smart devices as a backdoor to your most important information.

So while this is certainly an unfortunately real possibility, taking the time to use a few tips in this article can go a long way to stopping hackers before they start, and keeping your smart home devices safe and secure.

Can smart home devices be hacked?

The short answer is, unfortunately, yes. Along with the widespread popularity of smart home devices, a recent trend in hackers using IoT technology to spy on businesses, launch attacks, and deliver malware to your home network is a modern reality that users need to be fully aware of when setting up their smart home systems.

What can I expect if my smart devices get hacked?

With a physical home break-in, alert neighbors may notice and call the police, but a hacker has the advantage of working in secret. With access to your private information, savvy hackers may be able to steal sensitive information, or — in a worst case scenario — commit identity theft that can cause financial fallout. When you consider the array of smart toys and gadgets that provide electronic entertainment, education, communication and convenience for your family, you may also discover a number of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to break-in to your home.

Where do the biggest home threats exist?

Because of their 24/7 potential access, smart devices which you run continuously—thermostat, lighting, security, et al. — may pose more risk than those which you only use on occasion. Hack attacks on your home office computer, or router are likely the most vulnerable, but your living and bedroom may also contain any number of smart gadgets that a sharp hacker may attempt to exploit as well. Your smart TV, tablet, cell phones, alarm clocks, watches, sleep monitors and streaming gadgets can also make your bedroom a relatively open opportunity for hackers.

Both your living room and kitchen—smart TV’s, tablets, refrigerators, coffee machines, ovens, etc. — also offer connections which are easy to ignore when it comes to cybersecurity. And when assessing potential threats, do not neglect your children’s playroom with its smart toys, tablets or baby monitors. Be sharp and consider that any smart device can offer an opening.

Does hacking pose a severe threat?

Short answer? It does. The potential risk should reasonably grab your attention when you understand that all your smart devices have a direct connection to your smartphone, or even the internet. Awareness of this situation should sharpen your understanding of exactly how much effort goes into hacking attempts to break into the interconnected network that links your smart devices.

Does a password protect my smart devices from hacking?

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) offers specific guidelines on the best ways to protect your identity and possessions from the intrusive and persistent efforts of hackers. The guidelines apply to devices that connect to each other and to the internet, providing stringent guidance.

As a savvy computer user, you probably know that each device has a factory default password. What you may not know, however, is that you must change this default password. Always take the time to change default passwords, and make sure to create long, unique passwords that can best defeat any efforts to crack them.

What are some practical things I can do to secure my smart devices?

Remember that while it may take some extra effort to create a second Wi-Fi network dedicated to your smart devices, this effort will provide significant benefits. You can help confine any network intrusions to a separate network that does not have access to your bank, or private, sensitive financial information. And these simple steps can also make a significant difference in protecting your smart home systems:

  • Thoroughly research the device brand then choose one that has a proven security track record.
  • Keep the product software up-to-date. Always set your device to auto-update if possible so you always run the latest, safest software.
  • Most every device will come with a factory default password. Remember to take the time to go in and create a long and unique password for each device.
  • Choose the privacy settings that you’re comfortable with, instead of the blanket permissions that come with the devices.
  • Unplug any/every smart gadget when not in use.
  • Install cloud-integrated antivirus software for your router that protects every electronic device in your home.

Stay protected

When you actively participate in creating your home’s security profile, you take ownership that generates interest, knowledge, and ultimately, security. Stay a step ahead by staying informed, and your smart home can remain a smart choice!

About the Author

McAfee

McAfee is the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee creates business and consumer solutions that make our world a safer place. Take a look at our latest blogs.

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