For many people, home is where the heart lies. Feeling safe at home should be the norm and smart home technology reaffirms the idea that the home is a great place to be.
But there’s a downside to smart home technology that is often overlooked—a security breach.
Although smart home technology keeps homeowners secure with advanced security features, it also exposes them to cyber-related attacks. One minute you are basking in the safety of your smart home, and the next minute, you are feeling insecure due to unauthorized access.
Why Smart Home Technology Poses Security Risks
Smart home technology thrives on the Internet of Things (IoT). The devices in a smart home are connected to the internet via a protocol. Information collected by these devices is saved in the cloud and organized to understand your behavioral patterns.
If all that data saved on your devices get in the wrong hands, you are exposed to danger. And with growing expertise in hacking, that’s a valid cause for concern.
The security breach in smart home technology happens in different ways and the degree of damages varies according to what’s at stake. Here are several smart home technology risks and what you can do to prevent them.
1. Identity Theft
Hackers are getting more creative with their techniques by the day. Rather than gaining unauthorized access to your smart home security devices, they target the database of your service providers.
With your personal information at their disposal, they may steal your identity by retrieving your credit card information, social security number, and bank account number. Having gotten the information that they need, they proceed to make unauthorized transactions and purchases in your name. You might get into big trouble for something you know nothing about.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Preventing identity theft begins with protecting your personal information and paying close attention to your billing cycle.
Most smart home devices are controlled on mobile phones. Activate the security features on your mobile phone to prevent unauthorized access. If you are connected to public Wi-Fi, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and install virus-detection software and firewalls on your computer.
2. Spying and Monitoring
Video and audio recording is a function of some smart home devices. Security cameras help you to keep an eye on your premises by capturing footage—letting you know what’s happening even in your absence.
Similarly, audio devices like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa eavesdrop on you, recording everything being said. Ordinarily, you have no cause to worry until there’s a security breach.
Hackers can gain unauthorized access to your smart home cameras and audio devices, and manipulate the system to give their commands. By doing this, they keep tabs on everything that you do or say and may use it against you.
How to Prevent Spying and Monitoring
To prevent intruders from spying and monitoring you via your smart home devices, you have to be mindful of how you use them. Begin by deleting your conversations so that they are not stolen.
Consider turning off your Wi-Fi when you aren’t at home or when you need absolute privacy so your system doesn’t record anything. Secure your internet connection by using a secure Wi-Fi router.
3. Location Tracking
The location of your home is private information that you only give to trusted people.
Smart home devices are connected to a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system that automatically detects the location of your home. The location signals collected by the GPS are meant to be private but since they are saved in the cloud, they are exposed to hackers. Unfortunately, anyone who goes the extra mile to find your home location might be up to no good.
How to Prevent Location Tracking
Hackers can track your location when they gain unauthorized access to your GPS. So, the best way to prevent anyone from accessing your location is to turn off your GPS. Use a dedicated network for your smart home devices—hackers can easily make a security breach when they share the same network as you.
4. Data Manipulation
Installing a surveillance camera at home keeps a watchful eye on your premises even in your absence. But the authenticity of such data is questionable especially when it can be altered by professional hackers.
Data transmitted via smart home devices is unencrypted. A scrupulous intruder could break into your home and get away with no evidence on your camera. They simply manipulated the data by replacing the original data with an altered version.
How to Prevent Data Manipulation
A good way to prevent data manipulation is to use an advanced security system with File Integrity Monitoring (FIM). The system automatically generates backup for footage and issues instant alerts when a data manipulation is detected. You can verify the integrity of the footage on your system by comparing it with the backup.
5. Third-Party Apps Flops
One of the pros of having a smart home is remote access. In most cases, this is made possible by third-party mobile apps integration.
When the apps are not properly secured, there’s a window for hackers to penetrate your devices for criminal or fraudulent activities. You’ll be shocked to find out that someone else is remotely controlling your devices at home.
How to Prevent Third-Party Apps Flops
Take note of the permissions that you grant to third-party apps during installations. Only enable access features that you need. Activate two-step authentication to further strengthen access to your account. Double-check all links that pop up. If you can’t verify the authenticity of a link, don’t click it.
Safeguarding Your Smart Home Against Intruders
Despite the security risks, there’s no denying that smart home technology has enhanced living at home. Like with most things in life, the onus is on you to do due diligence in protecting your home against intruders by taking the above-mentioned precautions.
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