Cybersecurity Challenges of the Smart Home
Gone are the days when you had to always leave the comfort of your bed to switch off the lights. Many might not even remember the last time they had to manually load songs onto their audio players.
That is not because of neglect or not having these items, but because there is now an easier way to do it. For many, this ‘easy’ way is via some specialized apps and of course, specially designed set of equipment.
Defined under the large canopy of IoT, this technology is now helping people run smart homes. Besides making lives easier though, these smart devices also have a chink in their armor.
To put it better, they might be the best thing to have ever happened to you, but they could easily become the worst technology you have ever been exposed to, too.
Basically, IoT stands for Internet of Things. Like most other concepts in the world of technology, the name says almost everything you need to know about them.
The principle of IoT lies in the embedding of ordinary everyday ‘things’ with chips and other hardware components that allow them to function in part as a minicomputer. This technology has left the industrial scale and come into our homes too.
Today, it is not out of place to see a TV that gives ya real-time updates on the weather and a baby monitor that informs you of whatever is happening in your home, even if you are not there.
These IoT-items work with an internet connection. That allows them to pull the data you need, process them and then, relay the information to you via the chosen media.
How do smart devices threaten cybersecurity?
In the name, you could not have missed out the term ‘internet.’ As explained above, this means the things we are talking about would need to be on an internet connection to either work alone or with other connected units in the home.
That is where the problem comes in.
An experienced hacker could easily intercept the source of the internet connection. On getting in, they would be able to intercept any and all communications (commands, reports, etc.) happening between you and your smart devices. They can even hijack the devices and manipulate settings, data, etc.
There is a bigger problem for units that are highly connected to one another on the same network. All the hacker would need to do is find the unit with the least security protocol in place and hack that. Once that happens, they will be able to infiltrate the other devices – since they are now inside the network as an authorized user.
Protecting your privacy and security the easy way
Just because IoT devices pose as a security exploit does not mean you have to give them up entirely. They are here to make our lives better, and they are certainly here to stay. What you can do, though, is make sure you set up a secure connection for all these devices.
Try to limit the number of devices on your network to the minimum. That way, an unauthorized person can only access a select few of this smart device ecosystem you are running if they got in at all.
For an all-encompassing solution, getting a VPN will do trick. A good VPN will protect all of your data from snoopers and even throw them off your trail with its location service.
It is true that you are left exposed to smart devices, but that is only if they aren’t managed well. The most recommended approach to staying safe while enjoying the broad spectrum of functionality they bring on board is by using a VPN.
Moving forward, which one of these practices do you already have in place to secure your smart device networks/ which one are you planning to adopt soon?
Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.