At first glance, the appeal of a “smart home” is obvious. The concept is to make your life easier by controlling everything within your home at the touch of a button (or app). But today, you don’t even have to control your smart home if you don’t want to – you can simply let algorithms and sensors take control instead.
So what IS a smart home?
There are a variety of smart products available, from security cameras, burglar alarms and door locks, to automatic light bulbs, self-setting thermostats and even self-cleaning toilets. In a smart home, everyday items are connected to each other and the internet. This is also referred to as “The Internet of Things” (IoT), which means adding network connectivity and some form of intelligence to everyday items.
But the truth is, these devices are often less secure than you might think. Despite your best efforts to secure your home with a “smart” security system, you could actually be putting your home and family at risk!
So what stands between your family and cyber criminals, thieves and opportunistic individuals lurking in the outside world and internet? None other than the firewall built into your broadband router – often given to you for free by your internet provider. And by the way, when was the last time you updated your router to the latest firmware? If there were vulnerabilities in your router, would you even know it?
While a smart door lock might conveniently provide your neighbor access to your home while you’re away, if that device is hacked, thieves could literally walk right into your home.
If burglars tapped into your security system cameras, all they would need to do is monitor your daily pattern, tell your “smart” door lock to unlock itself, turn the security systems off and walk right in.
But how can this be?
Surely, developers behind this state-of-the-art technology would have considered security and taken the necessary steps to prevent these devices from being abused, right? Wrong. In the rush to be the first to market and build zero-startup equipment, the security on many IoT devices is inadequate, to say the least.
With the mobile workforce on the rise, more and more people are working from home. Have you ever stopped to consider the security risks you could encounter via the networked devices you use at home? Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and wireless printers – if you don’t have adequate security in place, you’re putting more than just your devices at risk. Your company data might be in jeopardy, particularly if your employer does not have a mobile device management solution in place.
As it is, between social media check-ins, unsecure public wireless networks in coffee shops, airports and other community based locations, we expose ourselves to a lot of potential attacks as it is. Do you really want to add even more vulnerabilities to your life?
If you love techy gadgets, you might find yourself drawn to the idea of a smart home, but security wise, smart homes still have a long way to go. Until it REALLY makes sense to replace your refrigerator with a smart device, or until smart security devices include even smarter security measures, ask yourself if smart homes are really worth the risk.