The Connected Home: Helpful or Hack Susceptible?

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It cannot be denied that technology continues to bring benefits to consumers lives at a rapid rate. At the touch of a button, we have access to things (research, correspondence, even food delivery!) that twenty years ago was unthinkable. The internet opens doors to connect people, manage tasks in a matter of seconds, stay up-to-date on current events in real time, and coordinate schedules, both personal and professional. While society reaps the benefits of modern-day technology, many may not realize the potential security risks that come with their everyday devices. In order to keep how we engaged with technology a positive experience, we must recognize the risks and implement the appropriate security safeguards.

A product greatly improved by technology is the baby monitor. Once an audio-only connection to an infant, baby monitors today have video capabilities and two-way communication often right through a parent’s smartphone. They are also hacked daily. Hackers on the web are looking to gain access to private information and in the case of baby monitors, the visibility of private homes are prominent. When something like a baby monitor’s security is compromised, a hacker can determine when you are not home, what possessions you own, and your physical location. Any Bluetooth device can become a seeing eye for uninvited guests- Roomba vacuums, smart thermostats, even Alexa smart hubs. Scary is an understatement and, obviously, not what a consumer intends when purchasing a connected device.

Utilizing proper protection to secure the safety of your devices directly translates to the security of yourself and those you love. Although these household devices do not have the same security features as your smartphone, it is still possible to engage in a security protocol that allows you to benefit from these devices and avoid unintended consequences. 

First and foremost, become your own detective. Our team at Cingo Solutions takes on the role of detective to ensure cyber safety by analyzing the devices our clients use and we advise you to do the same. A good rule of thumb to follow is if a device you want to purchase doesn’t have records of security testing by the company, that probably means the software durability has never been tested. Spend time researching feedback or articles written, and as we learned recently from the NEST learning thermostat, you may learn years later that the gadgets you enjoy were really a trojan horse. Lean your purchase more towards devices that show a dedication to thoroughly testing their software for malfunctions. Applying that criterion is a crucial and important step to take in developing a home security protocol.  No matter what kind of internet device you are using, always change the username and password. Leaving devices with factory settings make your device incredibly vulnerable to hackers. Also, be aware of what connection your device is on. Never ever connect to open Wi-Fi. Open networks make a cozy place for hackers to plant malware on your devices. 

As the world of technology continues to innovate and create products to make consumers lives more convenient, it is important to defend yourself against unintended risks associated with these conveniences. A few simple actions go a long way with cybersecurity and will protect you from the possibility of your helpful gadgets from transforming into a harmful device.