If you could travel back in time just 30 years and tell people about the technology they’d have in their homes in 2018, folks in the late 80s would stare at you in wonder. Thermostats, lights, and door locks that are controlled via your phone (not to mention the fact that the phone in question is a lightweight mobile phone roughly the size of your hand)? A talking computer that can play music, look up information, or interact with features in your home simply by you saying, “Hey, Alexa!”? Home security systems that can be armed and disarmed from near and far?
The home of the future may have seemed like something out of a science fiction movie back then, but now all of this technology is incredibly commonplace. This is so much the case that home automation hackers are already hard at work figuring out how to take advantage of smart home technology to compromise your passwords, your information, and even your home itself. Let’s discuss the types of attacks this type of cybercriminal carries out and how you can protect yourself.
What Kinds of Attacks Do Home Automation Hackers Use?
Home automation hackers have a whole host of tools in their arsenal. They frequently target Bluetooth-connected devices with attacks meant to commandeer devices with their own messages (bluejacking), steal its passwords and data (bluesnarfing), or take over the device entirely (bluebugging).
Cybercriminals also target wifi networks, as well as any devices that are connected to them. In a Forbes article looking into the issue of home automation hacking, journalist Kashmir Hill found that she was easily able to discover the location of homes with smart devices, gain access to private data, and even control some of the devices (she actually turned the lights off and on in one home).
If an innocent reporter can do all of that, imagine what a determined hacker can do! They could engage in activities that range from annoying (playing music over your Amazon Echo or toying with your lights) to downright dangerous (unlocking doors or disarming your alarm system).
How Can You Foil Smart Home Hackers?
Home automation is wonderful and merging the world of home automation with home security has made life much safer and easier, but the threat of hacking is a sobering one. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to stop home automation hackers from targeting your devices.
The most straightforward strategy to keep hackers out of your devices — and your life — is to use passwords on everything. Don’t just use the default password that came with the device, either; it doesn’t take much guessing for a criminal to figure out “admin,” “password,” or “1234” as your password. Change the default password as soon as you get a new device and make your password a strong one. Change all of your passwords regularly, too, in case anyone has managed to crack them.
Password security isn’t just for your devices. you also need to make sure you’re using a secure router to connect them to the internet. The same rules apply — always use a password and make it a good one. Here’s a bonus tip when it comes to your internet router: don’t name it something like “Little Blue Bungalow” that tells hackers exactly which house that router belongs to.
In addition to this, make sure you apply all patches and software updates that become available for your devices, as these are designed to help keep hackers out.
Connecting Home Automation and Home Security
Another step to avoid home automation hackers is to make sure all of your smart devices are tied to your home security system. When you get assistance from security professionals in connecting the convenience of home automation with the safety of your home security system, you can be certain that things are done right. They’ll help you change passwords and show you how to make sure everything is kept up-to-date so your family can enjoy the instant gratification of turning up the thermostat without ever leaving the couch, as well as the peace of mind of complete safety.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.