How to Protect Your Smart Home from Cyber Attacks

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 by under Cyber Security/Hacking, IoT (Internet of Things), Lifestyle, Personal Safety, Security, Smart Home

According to the 2015 State of the Smart Home Report, a typical family home could contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022. 

However, with increased connectivity and convenience, many homeowners overlook the security risks of having all of their devices linked through the Internet of Things (IoT).

Below, we provide a few examples of real-life smart home cyber attacks and outline security trends that teach homeowners the importance of protecting their homes.

Cyber Attacks on Smart Homes

Cyber security has already grasped the attention of the media; these shows depict real-life hacking scenarios that have, can and will likely happen in the future.

Many people have proven how easy hacking can be when homeowners lack basic system security. For example, one woman was able to access sensitive information, such as IP addresses and geographic location, and gain control over eight smart home systems simply because they were not properly password protected. While the victims’ user manuals strongly encouraged adding a username and password, it was not a required action.

In 2014, two parents were in for a rude and traumatizing awakening when they discovered a hacker yelling obscenities through their baby monitor. Although urged by their camera vendor to do so, the family failed to upgrade their software and change their default password, giving the hacker easy access to their system.

In another instance, a data security vendor revealed a hack that compromised more than 100,000 common gadgets to launch malicious email attacks. Thermostats, surveillance cameras, TVs, garages and refrigerators are just a few of the growing number of smart devices included in the IoT. However, these devices are not usually protected by anti-virus software, and are not regularly monitored to update software as it becomes available.

How to Better Protect Your Home

In each of these cases, homeowners were urged to either update software or change their default passwords. However, doing so was not required, and their homes – as well as thousands of others – were left vulnerable to attack.

Many of these homes were hacked due to lack of awareness. While awareness of the possibility of cyber crime has increased, technological capabilities of hackers are increasing, too. Smart homes give them another vital entry point into our daily lives—one that many smart homeowners don’t fully understand.

Hackers look for preventable flaws in automation systems, such as unsecured networks and outdated software. The cases detailed above share commonalities that teach homeowners three of the simplest ways to improve system security:

  • Change default passwords. Limit network and system access to authorized users.
  • Keep all smart devices up to date with the latest software. Mitigate the risk of cyber attack by downloading any patches as they become available.
  • Work with a trusted security provider. Ensure your home is properly equipped with the latest software for the best protection of your family. Vector Security currently deploys more than 4 million connected devices across North America, and works to keep automation systems secure.

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, homeowners cannot afford to leave their homes unprotected from digital threats. Any device that is connected through the IoT is susceptible to cyber attacks, but there are measures you can take to mitigate the chance of falling victim.

What are some steps you are taking to increase the security of your smart home? Share in the comment section below.

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