Cyber Security in the Era of the Smart Home Devices

From the apps and websites we use every day to the numerous connected devices we continue to add to our homes, there are more ways than ever cybercriminals can hack your data. As we enter a more connected reality, we need to be increasingly aware that smart home and IoT (Internet of Things) devices may be convenient but are accompanied by additional critical vulnerabilities.

Why is Cyber Security a Smart Home Issue?

Smart Home and IoT devices are increasingly being targeted by hackers as the weak point of any home or enterprise security network. Imagine what would happen if someone hacks a single device and obtains all your Wi-Fi credentials. Perhaps worse, what if a cybercriminal gains access to your smart thermostat and learns when you’ll be away? They may use that information to determine the best time to burgle your home. If someone compromises your connected home, your data could easily be leaked.

Top Five Smart Devices That Made an Impact on Cyber Security in 2019

  1. Smart TVs: With a click of a button or by the sound of our voice, our favourite shows will play, pause, rewind ten seconds, and more – all thanks to smart TVs and streaming devices. Although a great way to enjoy entertainment, it’s also a breeding ground for cyber-attacks; but how do they do it? By infecting a computer or mobile device with malware, a cybercriminal could gain control of your smart TV if your devices are using the same Wi-Fi.
  2. Voice Controlled Assistants: Voice-controlled assistants and smart speakers are always listening and, if hacked, could gain a wealth of information about you. Often used as a central command hub, connecting other devices to them (ie. smart speakers, smart lights, security cameras, refrigerator or smart locks). Some people even opt to connect accounts such as food delivery, driver services, and shopping lists that use credit cards. If hacked, someone could gain access to your financial information or even access to your home.
  3. Connected Cars: Today, cars are essentially computers on wheels. Between backup cameras, video screens, GPS systems, and Wi-Fi networks, they have more electronics stacked in them than ever. Despite the advancements in technology, these remain access points for an attacker. In fact, an attacker can take control of your car a couple of ways; either by physically implanting a tiny device that grants access to your car through phone or by leveraging a black box tool and your car’s diagnostic port completely remotely. Hacks can range anywhere from cranking the radio up, to cutting the transmission or disabling the breaks.
  4. Connected Baby Monitors: When you have a child, security and safety fuels most of your thoughts. While smart baby monitors are helpful, they are also an easy target for cybercriminals.
  5. Cell Phones: In any given day, we access financial accounts, check work emails and communicate with family and friends. That’s why it’s shocking to know how surprisingly easy it is for cybercriminals to access personal data on your cell phone. Phones can be compromised in a variety of ways, here are a few: accessing your personal information by way of public Wi-Fi (say, while you’re at a coffee shop using free Wi-Fi), implanting a bug, leveraging a flaw in the operating system, or by infecting your device with malware by way of a bad link while surfing the web or browsing email.

Stay Smart Home/IoT Safe in 2020

Here are ten things you can do to stay smart home/IoT safe in 2020:

  1. Change the default username and password. Always remember to change your passwords regularly.
  2. Stick with protected devices only.
  3. Set up a guest Wi-Fi network.
  4. Set up two-factor authentication.
  5. Stay on-top of software updates.
  6. Never manage your smart devices from public Wi-Fi networks.
  7. Disable unnecessary features.
  8. Use biometric authentication.
  9. Secure your network fully and make sure you have a firewall.
  10. Rename and reboot your router regularly.

Security for smart home devices is as critical as security on laptops and smartphones – and because many are less user-friendly when it comes to customizing settings, it can take far more effort to get right. While there’s absolutely no doubt that smart home/IoT devices make life easier, our everyday items are extremely hackable.

Be vigilant about your home’s cyber security and when in doubt, utilize the services from an expert cyber security company like Cytelligence. We offer the best global cybersecurity awareness training and advisory services to clients of all sizes. Contact us today to learn how you can be protected.