With the recent announcement from Facebook that 50 million of their client’s accounts had been breached, it is obviously important to make security a personal thing. CBC MarketPlace also just completed a test of smart home devices (e.g., Ring Doorbells, Nest thermostats, smart TV’s, home CCTV cameras, etc.) and they found it was relatively simple to not only hack into these devices but to also control them remotely.
So what do you do? Obviously home automation technology has great benefits so here is my advice to you to protect you and your privacy and property at home:
When purchasing a home automation device (e.g., smart door lock, home CCTV system, etc.) always ask what kind of security is built into the device. You want either a password on the device or encryption but preferably both.
If your smart home or home automation device has a password, set it to something difficult to guess and something that contains a mix of upper case and lower case letters and numbers and hopefully at least one special character (e.g., percent sign, etc.).
If you want to get smart home or home automation devices, then also invest in a good quality smart home WiFi firewall/router. Your Internet provider (e.g., Bell, Rogers, etc.) will provide you with a home WiFi router but I recommend you also add your own smart firewall/router to which you connect all of your devices at home and then connect that router to your Internet provider’s router. An example of a smart firewall/router is the Asus AC2400 but there are lots out there. These devices can do a lot of other things as well including actively scan your devices for viruses, stop unsafe activity on your network, block unwanted web sites and content, set hours of operation for some users on your home WiFi, and more.
Keep your smart home or home automation devices up to date! Some of these devices have software on them that is updated by the manufacturer so keep a list of smart TV’s, video doorbells, smart refrigerators, etc., that you have and check the manufacturer’s web site regularly for any updates because these updates can address security holes in the devices.
Enjoy your smart home devices but also keep them protected!