Staying Secure in Your Smart Home

110314-smarthomesHave you heard the term “Internet of things”? Even if you haven’t heard the phrase, we’re willing to bet the Internet of things plays a part in your everyday life:

  • Is there an appliance in your home that is Internet connected?
  • Do you have a smart thermostat like Nest?
  • Do you have a home automation system that allows you to control lights, locks, and more from your phone or tablet?

The “Internet of things” refers to the devices, sensors, and appliances in your home that are designed to connect and communicate with each other – or a central system – seamlessly. Smart home technology is one of the hottest subsets of the Internet of things. From learning your habits so the temperature of your home can change accordingly to being able to know when your kids unlock the door after school, there’s not much a smart home can’t do.

And while there are several advantages to smart home technology – money and energy savings, increased ability to monitor security, etc. – we urge you to take caution as you connect more and more devices together. Like any Internet-connected device, smart home technology is susceptible to hacking and viruses. Why is this bad? A few examples:

  • A would-be thief could hack into your automated thermostat and learn when the temperature drops, a sign that you’re likely not home.
  • The information collected by your web-connected TV could get into the wrong hands – sharing information about your viewing preferences with people you’d rather not share with.
  • The mobile device that controls your smart home could be lost or stolen, giving access to your home and its routines to a thief.

We’re not against smart home technology – from automating your thermostat to save money to controlling lights so you can fool a would-be robber, we think there are many reasons to invest in this new and growing area of tech. But you should always use caution when using these devices and ask questions about how the data collected by these devices is used – and who has access to it.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family? A few small changes can make a big difference:

  • Secure the mobile devices that control your smart home. Set passcodes that must be entered to log in to the phone or tablet, and enable your provider’s find my phone and recovery services.
  • Enable encryption so that the information passed around by your smart home is not easily readable by someone else.
  • If you have one system that controls your whole home, like Apple’s HomeKit, set up a username and password. Don’t use the default log in that comes with a system like this; create your own and make the password strong.
  • Have a firewall on your home Internet network. It’s an extra layer of security.

Are your devices and networks secure? Let PNSoltions help you protect yourself and your devices – call us today!

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