Digital home invasions are a startling trend in today’s technological growth. Twenty billion smart devices are to be connected by 2020, with 75% of households having smart technologies by 2025. This increased trend in smart devices leaves us vulnerable to hackers, thieves and criminals.
Back up… Digital home invasions?
If you haven’t heard of a digital home invasion before, you may not be alone. Smart home devices have a central app, such as Google’s Nest or Samsung’s Smart Things. These apps can be downloaded by anyone. From there all it takes is a determined hacker to figure out your home’s network and passwords. Smart devices are mass manufactured. There is no difference between the device you buy at Walmart or the device you buy on Amazon. A thief can easily buy their own to figure out how it works and how to break into it.
A recent article from the New York Times shows that smart assistants can be hacked by a laser pointer. Yes, a cheap laser pointer could put your family in harms way. In this study, University of Michigan students were able to infiltrate a smart assistant and open up a home’s garage door. The farthest they were able to control a voice assistant was from 350 ft away using a telephoto lens. The students state that they could easily turn lights on and off, make online purchases, and unlock doors.
So What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
Protect Your Network
It is important to change the default password and username your router and devices come with. Not changing these will allow for easy access for unwanted intruders. There are catalogs of default username and password combinations online. Anyone can access your devices if you do not change your default login.
Keep your network name unidentifiable, do not use your family name. You can also choose to keep your network hidden from view.
Use Unique Passwords
As for everything, always use a new unique password. If one password is uncovered then the rest of your accounts and devices are still safe. If you use the same password for all accounts and devices, you could potentially leave yourself vulnerable. Do not use passwords that include names or that are easy to guess. The best passwords are random letters, numbers, and special charterers.
Use Brands that are Reputable
There are several big brands that manufacture smart technology. Along with the big brands are newer brands and knock off brands. Stay with trusted brands and make sure to research the smart device that you are considering buying. Read reviews and research the product. Ask friends and family members what smart products they use and why they like them.
Use 2 Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication needs more than just a password to access the device. It usually entails a secondary question or another step before logging in. This helps deter anyone from accessing your network without permission.
Reset Devices Before Reselling Them
Network data is saved on a device. Data such as username and passwords are accessible to the buyer if you do not reset your device before selling it.
Keep all Software up to Date
Keep all devices updated for best performance. As new threats emerge, companies produce software updates to keep their devices running smoothly. When you bring your new device home, make sure to check for updates before you finish the installation. Sometimes products can sit on shelves for months before purchase and may not have the latest security updates.
Keep Your Assistant Away From Windows
Other than the risk of a laser hacking your smart assistant, a voice between a window and the outside can still unlock and open doors for criminals.
Do Not Use Public WiFi
When accessing your smart home from away, do not do so while connected to a public network. Anyone can see what you are doing and it is a great chance for hackers to intervene the signal.