Smart Home Devices-The Security Risks Surrounding Smart Home Technology and How to Protect Against Them

Criminals and Technology-How Criminals are Using Technology to Compromise Your Home Security and What to Do About it
July 21, 2023

Smart Home Devices-The Security Risks Surrounding Smart Home Technology and How to Protect Against Them

Residents across the nation are taking advantage of the many conveniences of today’s smart home devices. From lights and thermostats to door locks and security cameras, smart home technology has made it easy to access and control various aspects of our residence—even when we’re away from home. Though the convenience of smart home technology is appealing, few residents understand the risks such devices pose in terms of home security. 

According to The Daily Press article published through Insurance Journal, there are several security risks of internet-connected smart home devices. For example, devices with less security such as lights and thermostats can be easily hacked into by criminals and used to access higher security devices such as home alarm systems, automated door locks, and security cameras. One of the reasons quoted as the problem are the “authorization tokens” that are used to communicate between smart home applications and devices. Each time a user uses an app on their smart phone to access one of their smart home devices, they risk having that access token stolen by anyone with a little hacking knowledge. This is especially true for residents who access their apps in public places that offer free WiFi, such as local coffee shops.

According to industry experts, the vulnerabilities of many of today’s smart home devices is due to companies rushing to meet the demands of consumers without thinking about how they will be used and the security threats they pose. With an estimated 20 billion smart home devices expected to be in use by 2021, the problem is expected to get worse.

Tips to Reduce the Security Risks of Smart Home Devices

The important lesson to take away from the research conducted on smart home technology is that it is your responsibility to make sure the devices you set up in your residence are safe and secure. Though smart home devices offer many conveniences, you must understand the risks associated with them. 

Here are a few ways to minimize the security threats associated with some of today’s smart home devices:

  • Avoid using smart home apps when connected to public WiFi. Public WiFi is very risky and should not be trusted. That’s because hackers can easily hijack the connection and intercept whatever information you transmit through it. To avoid having your smart phone devices hacked into, do not use public WiFi to access the associated smart phone apps. Instead, wait until you can connect through a more secure system. 
  • Use hard-wired internet connections over WiFi.  Connecting directly to a network router via an Ethernet cable offers a higher level of security than wireless internet. Though not always convenient, use this method to connect to the internet whenever possible, as it can significantly reduce your risk of having your smart home accounts hacked.
  • Use strong passwords. Every smart home application you use should be properly secured with a strong password. Avoid simple passwords that contain the names of pets, children, and other personal information. Though easy to remember, these types of passwords can be easily figured out by criminals. Many times all it takes is to perform an online search of your name to find out personal information about you via social media and other online applications. When choosing a password, it should be unique and contain a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numerals, and special characters. Your passwords should also be at least 8 characters or more in length. 
  • Password protect your electronic devices. Whether it’s a cell phone, laptop, or tablet, every device you use to access your smart home applications must be properly secured with strong login and password credentials. In addition, avoid using the “Remember Me” feature to prevent others who gain access to your computer or phone to access the accounts to your smart home devices. 
  • Ensure your home is properly secured. The key to keeping intruders out of your home is ensuring you’re the vulnerable entry points of your residence are properly secured. Main entry doors that swing inward should be constructed of metal or solid wood and equipped with a heavy duty deadbolt, a reinforced door frame, and a quality security door brace. For windows and glass doors, line the interior of the glass panes with glass security film to prevent the glass from being shattered.

Additional home security devices to invest in include a home alarm system and/or a wireless surveillance system. Though these devices cannot prevent an intruder from entering your home, they can serve as an early warning system and grant you the time needed to call for help and seek safety. 

Be Smart and Take Control of Your Home Security

If you’re going to invest in smart home devices, take some time to research and understand the risks they may pose to your safety and security. Don’t rely on the companies that produce them to keep you safe. Be smart and take control of your home security.