The popularity of home automation is on the rise, but with that comes many new cybersecurity threats.
The average American consumer is currently in possession of 13 connected devices, up from 8 two years ago. Among these are many Internet of Things devices, commonly referred to as IoT. IoT devices are household devices and appliances that connect to the internet which can include lights, outlets, refrigerators, door locks, and much more.
With the invention of any new technology there is always a risk that hackers will find a way to break into them. Haiyan Song, the general manager of Security Markets for Splunk said, “Next year, we will definitely hear of even more IoT-related security challenges.” Splunk is a software developer that helps clients analyze cyber-threats.
There have already been many cases of security threats involving IoT devices, including one instance in 2016 when the cardiac devices at St. Judes Medical Center were hacked into. At the time CNN wrote, “The FDA confirmed that St Jude Medical’s implantable cardiac devices have vulnerabilities… Once in, they could deplete the battery or administer incorrect pacing or shocks.”
With the threats on the rise and the technology constantly expanding its range it can be intimidating to enter the realm of home automation, but there is some good news. In spite of security threats, IoT developers are constantly updating their devices to keep them free of vulnerabilities. And while it’s true that some larger hacking attempts have been made, generally individual households are not targeted.
When it comes to protecting your house and home automation products from hackers the most important thing is to have a good router with secure settings and a unique wifi password. Often many people don’t realize that their router can be the weakest link in the chain. It’s important to create a unique username and password for logging into the router, it’s usually leaving things at their default values that will leave them vulnerable to hackers. Also, replacing your router if it’s more than five to seven years old is also important. Although routers will often receive software and firmware security updates, having the latest technology on the market will ensure that your firewall protection is the best it can be.
The greatest take-away with all of this is to keep things in perspective and stay informed. Home automation and IoT devices are excellent time savers for your home, and in spite of a few larger scale hacking attempts over the last few years it is still safe for the average consumer to invest in building a smart home. But it’s important to make sure that you have trained professionals installing your equipment and setting up the latest security features to keep you and your family safe.
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