Is an Automated Home Really Secure?

Can you imagine how much everything has changed in the past decade because of the internet of things (IoT)? It has changed the way we live—from activity trackers to home security. Never before have we been this dependent on technology.

But we are not just using technology for communication, consumption, and convenience. We are also using it for security. Virtually every facet of our lives now is ruled by technology. Most noticeably, we use it to secure our homes.

How secure are these technologies you use for home automation? How sure are you that the information sent between the smart home system and your smartphone cannot be hacked? The connected home makes your life easier and more enjoyable, but it also comes with dangers. Since your home is connected to the internet, it is open to infiltration and hacking by cybercriminals. You have to deal with several security risks once you use technology in your home.

Security of the Devices and Networks

The individual devices themselves may not be secure. Most of the time, manufacturers rush their production to get them out to the market. The stiff competition in the market may be pushing some companies to skip security measures designed to safeguard consumers’ privacy concerns. You cannot find the solution to this in the user’s manual or guide.

For example, there have been some hacking reports of baby monitors and security cameras. Once they’re hacked, these give criminals access to what’s going on inside your house. This access will give them the information they need to plan future attacks.

Apart from the devices’ security, your home network is another vulnerability. Hackers can get into home networks and access data sent between the controller (the smartphone) and the home system. A cybercriminal can track your activities using this data. Once they are aware of your activities, it will be easy for them to enter your home when you are not there.

When criminals get into your system, other data in the network will fall into their hands, too. It’s not just the information from your IoT devices. They will have access to your emails, financial records, passwords, social media accounts, and bank accounts. It will be hard to stop the hack once they’ve entered your home network.

If you are going to control your home network via your smartphone, that’s another form of vulnerability, too. The risk happens when your phone gets hacked or if it gets stolen. So, when it comes to your home system, it’s not a question of if but when it will be hacked. You should be ready for it.

home exterior

Securing Your Smart Home System

It doesn’t mean that you should not consider an automated home. This is still your best defense against burglars as they are usually intimidated by homes with automated security. You can do a lot of things to ward off hackers, though. The most important step you have to take is to secure your network.

Isolating your home network is a huge step against hacking. You have to set up a guest network for your IoT devices. Hackers can even get into your appliances. Access to your appliances can fall into the hands of the wrong people. They can then use this entry point to get into your emails and bank accounts. However, if they are in their own networks, they won’t have access to personal information in the main network.

It would be best to secure your smartphone since this is the device you use to gain access to your home network. Of course, you are taking your smartphone to public places. You are using public networks, too. Here’s how you can secure your smartphone.

  • Lock your smartphone.
  • Use strong passwords for your phone.
  • Don’t use your computer’s main administrator account to control your smart home system.
  • Change the network’s name and password in the router.
  • Use firewalls in your computer and router.
  • Invest in strong security software. These varying levels of security will protect your home system from cybersecurity threats.

A smart home system is still the most practical way to secure your home, belongings, and family. However, you need to be aware of the risks and threats you face when using this technology. Still, the IoT is a life-changing development that paved the way for more innovations in homes, offices, and industries. The threats and risks they present are nothing compared to the conveniences and security that they offer.

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“Right now, computers make our lives easier. They do work for us in fractions of a second that would take us hours. […] As things progress, they’ll be doing more and more for us.”
Steve Jobs
co-founder of Apple Inc. and founder of NeXT
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