Smart Home Security

Once a futuristic dream, and then only affordable to wealthy elites, “smart homes” today are becoming more affordable and commonplace to everyday home dwellers. The term “smart home” refers to households equipped with any number of home automation devices, usually connected through the household’s Wi-Fi network and connected to the Internet. Everyone with smart home devices should be thinking: How can I be sure my smart home is secure? T&M offers some suggestions.

smart home

Internet connectivity and automation features are being added to virtually every household appliance such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, lighting fixtures, garage doors and thermostats. These network-capable everyday devices are being referred to as the “Internet of Things,” or “IoT.” The benefit of these IoT devices is the convenience and peace of mind they provide. For example, you don’t have to worry about whether you left the lights on or locked the doors, because there’s an app for that – if you have a smart home.

While the convenience provided by smart home devices is indisputable, each smart device added introduces an additional vulnerability to the security of the household. Due to the rapid expansion of the IoT market, there is a lack of overarching security standards. Each device added to the network is a new potential entry point for hackers. Depending on the types of devices in the home, the dangers that these vulnerabilities present can range from mischievous inconvenience to a complete compromise of the physical security of the home. A network breach on a smart home might only give hackers control of your lights and blinds, but it may also grant access to your alarm system or door locks. Clearly, these vulnerabilities present a potential problem. While people obviously desire convenience, safety is a major concern that cannot be ignored.

With the rapid growth of the smart home market, new products and technologies are constantly being introduced. There are several ways to mitigate the security threat posed by having a smart home:

  • Be sure to research new products and compare them to similar products from other companies, while keeping security a frontline focus.
  • If you are installing a host of devices, consult a third-party network security expert to ensure you are not placing your home and family at risk.
  • Consider a dedicated smart security device that can work with your home router’s built-in firewall. These devices actively monitor the network, alerting you when a new device connects to your network, allowing you to set permissions and controls for each device. A smart security device can also notify you when new patches are released for your devices.
  • If your smart home network is smaller in scale, consider what home features you are automating. It is ill-advised to add network connectivity to anything you wouldn’t trust a stranger having access to.
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