Our houses are full of smart gadgets. We can turn on the radio, turn off the lights, adjust our central heating, keep an eye on our children, feed our pets and see who’s at the front door with a touch of a screen. These gadgets can certainly make life easier for us, but at what cost? Many people are unaware of the security risks that come along with these products.
According to a new Which? Investigation, a home filled with smart devices could be exposed to more than 12,000 hacking or unknown scanning attacks from across the globe in a single week.
With our homes more connected than ever, more opportunities for hackers are arising. Some smart devices are more vulnerable than others, with smart TVs being number one, followed by video doorbells/smart security systems and smart baby monitors.
The issue is that all these devices connect to our home WiFi, so once cybercriminals hack into that, they have access to every one of your smart devices. This allows hackers to exploit the victim’s privacy, having access to their home security footage and personal details. These can be used to stalk the victim, or be sold on to other companies without consent. The more smart devices you have, the more appealing your network is to hackers.
There are questions surrounding the companies that produce smart devices. Are they doing enough to keep consumers safe? Some would argue no, as many users aren’t even aware that smart devices can present security risks. Companies should be making this information explicitly clear so everyone can protect themselves.
What can you do to keep your home safe if you do have smart devices? Taking simple precautions can improve your cybersecurity and keep your home safe.
The first step is to set up Two-Factor Authentication across all your devices. This strengthens access security by requiring two methods to verify your identity, such as your email and phone number. Without your physical device, hackers can’t gain unauthorised access to your accounts with only your password. It adds another layer of security and is a must for smart devices.
One vital safety component is ensuring you have strong, unique passwords across your smart device accounts and WiFi. Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess like birthdays, names or sequences such as ‘abcd’ or ‘1234’. It’s also recommended that you don’t use the same password across multiple devices too. If you struggle remembering complex passwords, its beneficial to use a secure password manager to store all your passwords in the same place.
Another tip is to keep all your devices’ systems updated. If security systems become compromised, companies use system updates to patch these flaws. If you can, set the updates as automatic so you don’t forget.
As smart devices only become more prevalent in our homes, we must keep security at the forefront of our minds and take the necessary action to protect ourselves, until the companies making the devices put more measures in for their users.