How to Keep Your Smart Home Safe from Hackers
January 6, 2020
In one experiment, it took three hackers less than two hours to crack a Canadian family’s Wifi password, which was also their smart thermostat password. They then used a sophisticated phishing email to trick the homeowners into logging into their smart home hub account, thus handing their password to everything right over. The hackers were now able to unlock her front door, but they didn’t need to get in the front door in order to see what was happening inside the home because the same password was used for her security cameras. Now, the hackers could not only view their every move but they could very easily send voice commands to the family’s Amazon Echo, placing orders with their stored credit card information. A bigger concern of the homeowner, who agreed to this experiment, was exposure to her child. She was shocked at how easily and quickly the hackers were able to get into everything.
The good news? This is all preventable!
Keep your smart home safe from hackers by taking a few simple steps, outlined below.
Vary Your Passwords/Use a Password Manager
Start with a secure WiFi password (rather than an open WiFi network) and be sure to avoid the common mistake of repeating the same password across all of your devices. Because it’s difficult for most people to remember multiple passwords, there are excellent password manager tools available that generate complicated passwords for each of your accounts. By remembering just one primary password to log into the password manager, you are able to access your multiple saved passwords for your multiple devices. Consider using something fairly complicated as your master password – longer word groupings that you can still easily remember – especially key if you opt not to use a password manager.
Never Use the Default Password
Not only are you making the hacker’s job too easy by using your security system’s default password, but there is a website on the loose called Insecam that live streams footage from home security cameras that never changed their factory-default passwords. When installing a Per Mar security system, our security professionals will ensure this password is changed before leaving the premises.
Get a Professionally Installed Security System
Professionally installed security systems are more secure than DIY security systems. Per Mar’s systems utilize spread-spectrum technology which virtually ensures our wireless systems cannot be defeated by jamming. DIY non-spread spectrum systems operate in a narrow frequency band. An intruder can use a wireless device to flood the area with transmissions at the same frequency used by the alarm system, thereby preventing alarm signals from reaching the receiver. The vulnerabilities of DIY systems have been demonstrated in recent news coverage.
Don’t Fall for Phishing Emails
Some phishing emails are obvious but others are more difficult to detect. And people still fall for them each and every day. The best advice is to always check the “from” email address and match it to previous emails from trusted companies. If there is any doubt, do not click any links in the email but instead contact the company via phone to verify that the email you received is legitimate.
Technology is showing no signs of slowing down – Orbis research predicts home automation to grow by more than 300% by 2023 – so if we want to keep up, we have to be proactive in researching the most effective and secure products on the market. It’s not a linear decision anymore! By following the simple steps above, you’ll have protected your family and home from yet another potentially dangerous intrusion threat. Contact us for more information on the security of our smart home offerings.