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Security for the Smart Home – Who is Responsible?

The smart home industry has become a big business. The total industry value of $76.6 billion in 2018 projected to grow to $152 billion in 2024. And that makes sense. 

Smart home devices are everywhere. You may already have a smart lock on your door. Or maybe you’ve connected Alexa to your home lights. The technology is fantastic, and a smart home makes our lives much better. 

But, as with any internet-connected technology, there are risks that you need to be on the lookout for. 

Please pay attention to these potential dangers, and learn how to avoid them below. 

What’s So Dangerous About Smart Home Tech?

It may seem a little counter-intuitive. Don’t many smart home devices increase security like cameras, locks, and sensors? While these devices may do an excellent job of improving your physical safety, they open you to threats in the digital world. 

Smart home devices are an easy target for hackers. And we’re not talking about light bulbs, and other items you wouldn’t assume aren’t as secure. All types of smart home and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices have serious security vulnerabilities. 

And there is no target too small. Since smart home devices are connected to your home network, it only takes hackers cracking into one item to put your entire network security at risk. 

That’s because each device has an IP address—the unique identifier that shows it’s connected directly to your network. Once hackers know this, they can find a variety of ways to leverage this knowledge against you to track your internet activity and more. 

If you’re wondering, “how do I hide my IP,” don’t worry. We’ll explain below.  

What’s scary is that they can also gain control of security cameras and webcams to watch unsuspecting victims and blackmail them. 

Security Is Your Responsibility

While everybody agrees that smart home tech manufacturers need to do more to ensure user safety, it will take time for these devices to catch up. And they’ll never be 100% secure. 

Let’s take a look at another technology, personal computers, as an analogy. Personal computers have had years to become safer. Developers create new security updates all the time, and most people have at least some common sense of cyber hygiene safety skills. But PCs can and do get hacked all the time. 

The same thing goes for smart home technology. Even as manufacturers make them safer, there will always be new threats. That’s the downside of any device that relies on a connection to the internet. 

How You Can Increase Your Smart Home Safety

Fortunately, a few simple measures can work wonders towards increasing the security of your smart home device. First and foremost, you need to learn to hide the IP addresses (you can find that here) of all devices connected to your home network. 

It not only includes smart home technology, but smartphones, tablets, and computers. The easiest way to do this is with a VPN. VPNs both hide your real IP address and encrypt your internet connection making everything you do online safer. 

Nowadays, many smart home devices are compatible with VPNs. If not, you can install one directly on your router to protect all connected devices. 

Combine this with the following strategies: 

  • Use complex and lengthy passwords 
  • Enable two-factor authentication 
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi 
  • Restrict your Wi-Fi network to only people in your household or create a separate guest network
  • Check app permissions 
  • Consider using a web firewall 

Smart home devices are amazing. Within a few short years, we’ll see more of them until everything in our lives from our cars to smartphones are completely integrated. 

Enjoy the convenience of these technologies. Just be sure to pay attention to potential risks and start incorporating these practical and easy security tips into your daily routine now. 

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