Friday, December 14th, 2018

W WebWorks by Terry Young
Smart Home Devices



SMART HOME DEVICES


Security or security risk?


The holidays are here, and stores from tech to hardware are pushing Smart Home devices.

From voice recognition with Alexa to smart wi-fi security cameras from Nest, Arlo or Canary, the choices are many. There are even smart thermostats, designed so you can adjust your home's temperature even while you are away.



With so many choices out there designed to make your life easier and more secure, people are often so excited by the convenience that they don't consider that these devices could be a big security risk.


The issue is that any device
that can be controlled
from outside your home,
can be controlled from
outside your home—by someone else.


The issue is that any device that can be controlled from outside your home, can be controlled from outside your home—by someone else.

All that stands between you and someone else gaining access to your system is usually just a username and password. If someone can get those, then they can just as easily log in and see/listen in on you, and see when you are away from your house.

Furthermore, since web-based control is usually through an account that you created through an app or website, anyone else logging in can also see any other personal information.

Earlier in 2018, the Google-owned Nest system sent out emails warning their customers that their accounts had been compromised. The company was unclear if there had been a data breach of their system, or if they had discovered published lists of hacked Nest usernames and passwords on hacking websites.

When purchasing any smart device, especially one that can hear, see, or alert someone that you are away, you must make sure that you use a very secure password.

Secure passwords consist of capital letters, numbers, and even things like exclamation points or other symbols.

Some system logins can also be setup for what is called multi-factor authentication. This is where you have to enter more than your login and password to gain access. This extra layer could be a PIN or an answer to a secret question. Some sites even offer a code that is sent to your phone when you log in that you have to enter. However, I personally see this as a potential hassle if, for example, your spouse is at home trying to log in and the code comes to your cell phone while at work.

The bottom line is that you should always consider anything that comes into your house via the web as a possible security risk.

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Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.