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With the growing security threats, should I have a smart home?

With the growing security threats, should I have a smart home?

"Is my smart home actually safe?"

"Can hackers hack my fridge?"

"Can hackers see what my family is up to through my home security system?

These are just a few of the questions that we've heard over the years when it comes to smart home security. Clients and website visitors alike are worried about security.

And rightly so. 

You're bringing technology into your home, and -- unless you're an obsessive geek like we are -- it can be extremely confusing and overwhelming to think about all the moving parts, bells and whistles, apps, and security protocols required to keep a smart home running.

An article recently published by the New York Times explored this topic after a major electronics firm began to see strange documents printed out on their smart printers. 

Turns out, it was a simple vulnerability that was easily patched, but these stories are becoming more and more common, and they're worrying more and more smart home owners. 

The last 18 months saw massive growth in the smart home industry, with Google and Alexa devices entering more and more homes. Once people get a taste of what it's like to live with a smart speaker, it's only a matter of time before they look for a complete integrated solution for their home.

The smart home -- the fully smart home -- is becoming more and more mainstream. It is, as the NY Times put it, "no longer just tech geeks and phone-obsessed Millennials who are scouring the tech universe for information on the next best gadget that lets them control lights, TVs, appliances, door locks, and even lawn sprinklers with a voice command or tap on a smartphone."

According to security professionals, this demand means manufacturers are rushing their products to market before all the holes and vulnerabilities are patched, and nefarious parties are watching.

The methods these criminals are using are elegant, yet simple. 

Some hack smart homes when people login to public wifi networks, like at Starbucks. Others phish for access information, much like identity thieves do for credit card information.

It's natural to be wary of having a smart home in this day and age, and maybe even talk yourself out of having a smart home. 

But there's no need to panic. A smart home is definitely a worthwhile investment. 

While smart home tech is not 100% impenetrable, you can keep yourself (and your family) safe by following some simple rules.

1. Do not give out your passwords to anybody for any reason. The only people who should have your passwords are your family members who live in the house and your smart home installation team. That's it. Nobody else. If someone emails you looking for your password, don't give it to them, even if it looks like someone you trust.

2. Use complex passwords. Using a tool like LastPass you can generate complex passwords that are extremely hard to guess. Avoid using anything like birthdays, addresses, or pets names for your passwords.

3. Don't use public WiFi. If you are at a coffee shop, teather your phone and surf the web with your data connection. This will keep your smart home safe from hackers who are at the same coffee shop, or spying on the coffee shop's internet router.

4. Always, always, do security updates to your systems. Don't skip an update because it's inconvenient. Updates are important for maintaining the security of your devices. 

5. Hire out. Don't try to make your home fully integrated if you don't know what you're doing. Hire a professional, trusted, smart home installation company who will make sure its done right.

6. Don't panic. If your home does have a security vulnerability, don't panic. Power down the compromised devices and call your trusted professional who can sort you out. 

By following these 6 simple rules you can keep your smart home safe. 

Do you need a trusted smart home professional in your corner? Give us a call. 

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