Building a smart home is not hard at all…

Coming home to a pre-heated house, being able always to monitor what is going on at home, knowing that if the emergency alarm sets you will not only get a notification on your cell so you can inform the authorities, but you will have a device that will start recording everything that is going on. It all sounds great, and we are lucky enough to live at a time where this is a reality for millions of homes. Building a smart home is not hard at all, you just buy all these fancy gadgets, you follow the instructions on the tin and connect them together, and you end up enjoying the perks of living in the future.

…but connected gadgets currently on the market are vulnerable to external threats

However, when using connected devices at home, you may be unknowingly contributing to the latest DDoS attack taking place on the other side of the world. Due to a whole variety of reasons, some of the connected gadgets currently on the market are vulnerable to external threats. If your home devices are not secured well, knowledgeable hackers might be able to access those gadgets and use them to commit crimes. Your wife’s Christmas present that can turn ON the pool lights may also end up being partially responsible for the next hacker attack.

For example, last year the internet “broke” after a significant amount of vulnerable devices consisted mainly of digital cameras, webcams and routers, were used to launch an attack that affected millions. Popular sites such as Twitter, PayPal and Netflix were amongst the concerned ones. Having Twitter offline for 30 minutes might not sound scary at all, but the fact that some hacker, most likely hiding in his mom’s basement, can cause such interruptions and prevent POTUS from being able to send entertaining tweets, means that people need to start buying products that are well secured.

You may think this is not a big deal, but next time the attack may be directed towards our government, or the servers of the airline you are about to use on your way towards your vacation in Hawaii later in the summer.

Simple Ways to Protect your Smart Home from Hackers

  • Learn more about it! So next time you are getting a device that will ask for your WiFi name and password during the installation, research it, or speak with the sales rep about the level of encryption that comes with it. Do not buy the product before you are fully satisfied with its security features.
  • Always change the password of the device that you are purchasing. Very often consumer IoT devices come with a preset password; those presets can easily be guessed by cyber criminals, so we firmly suggest you use your password when you have the option to do so. Don’t forget to change it every three months too!
  • Register your product. Registering your new gadget will not only start your warranty, but in many cases, it will also confirm if the product is genuine. You will also be notified in case the device is being recalled, or there are any security issues with it. It is sad there are still people around the world whose devices are being exploited by hackers simply because they never heard about the recall. Being in the company’s radars is worth it so register your device after you purchase it.

“IOT devices are a potential army of sleeping zombies, waiting for someone to wake them up and manipulate them”

The main problem is that the developers and builders of this kind of connected devices have not taken in consideration the danger of the cyber delinquencies, IOT devices are a potential army of sleeping zombies, waiting for someone to wake them up and manipulate them“, says Hervé Lambert, Global Consumer Operations Manager at Panda Security. That means, a device connected to the Internet of Things with no security barriers can be modified remotely, and can perform some function that is not the one for which it was designed.

Connected technology is still vulnerable

Unfortunately, manufacturers sometimes do not prioritize the security of their products; they focus their time and money on other more profitable areas of the product development. People sometimes do not research enough the products they purchase because they don’t have the time, or do not believe a cheap imported camera could have any impact on anything what so ever. However, connected technology is still vulnerable, and we firmly suggest you add an extra layer of security to your smart home. Your connected home won’t be smart at all if you do not have an anti-virus software that monitors your home network and prevents trouble makers from accessing your connected gadgets.