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3 Myths of Smart Home Device Security

“When does it stop listening? Who Is listening?”

“When does it stop listening? Who Is listening?”

“When does it stop listening? Who Is listening?” – this is one of the top voted question on Amazon’s website for the smart home device Echo. Although perhaps underlined with irony, this question expresses the increasing concerns of people to the risk of smart home devices.

In October 2016, everyday smart household appliances such as DVRs, remote controls and even washing machines, have been hacked to cause a massive internet outage by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The stakes are mounting as a 2015 Gartner study estimated that consumers around the world are adding a staggering 5.5 million IoT devices on a daily basis.

Yet, there are still some misconceptions from device owners concerning how much are they at risk. Here are three common myths about Smart Home devices and what you can do about them

Myth # 1“Brand new devices must be secure.”

Not necessarily. With new models released yearly, that shiny smart TV you bought for Christmas will soon become “obsolete” in the minds of manufacturers. In fact, the support life cycle of connected devices is about six months to a year. When was the last time you upgraded your TV? People on average buy a new television every five years, meaning that any vulnerabilities are likely to affect a wide number of devices and be found in woefully outdated hardware or software.

Myth # 2 “The ‘smartest’ device I own is a light switch, I’m not at risk!”

Yes, you might be. Even simple items such as smart light switches could be connected to the internet via your local network. These devices are often not password protected, but instead rely on the security of your Wi-Fi network or your smart phone to stop outsiders from gaining access to your devices.

Myth # 3 “Products from big name manufacturers must be safe.”

It can be a roll of the dice. One thing that consumers should be aware of is many manufacturers of new smart products do not have great practices at building secure products. There is currently no regulation on the security of smart devices (though discussions are underway). Hence it’s often up to the individual to stay vigilant and protect themselves.

What you Should Do

Change default passwords and make them strong

A lot of smart devices come with very poor passwords set on them, be sure to change them from the default. 

Make sure your wireless router and smart phone are up to date

Remember, most smart home devices connect through your home router and are accessed via your smart phone. Make sure you apply security updates to these devices when they are released.

DynaRisk’s vulnerability scanning service will check to see if your smart phone is vulnerable to attack and help you fix it. Browse to DynaRisk.com for more information.