• Dave B. Britton

Are Smart Home Solutions creating risk ?

Whether we know the term or not, IoT (Internet Of Things) carry risk with use.

So what are they ? Great question. If you walked around your home, you would be surprised how many devices are making life easier, yet are not free of risk. Smart thermostats, security cameras, smart TV's, the list goes on. We use them because they make our lives more efficient and save us time. The number of devices we rely on is growing. That being the case, how do we protect our homes, our data and our families ?

First, walk around your home and take an inventory of all smart devices. Hardwired, wifi, bluetooth...it makes no difference. Catalog them all. Take a moment to look at all mobile devices, laptops and desktop machines to find what is paired via bluetooth.

I am most concerned with doorbell cameras, security cameras and anything which records data. What do they record and who can gain access to that data? Does it record your location? Is it storing contact information?

Many of these items use an app to control them. If this is the case with your devices, take time to review the app's permissions.You would be amazed what information we allow brands to collect. I always treat each device as if there are few security controls and I need to lock them down from factory settings.

One example could be your home security cameras. Should you disable video storage for certain cameras? Do you really need it recording all movement in a certain location in your home?

What about those wonderful home assistants? You know the ones that stream music, tell us the weather when we ask, run timers when we are cooking etc.? If you are working remotely, it would be a good idea to make sure the microphone is turned off while you are on conference calls or other work calls. That way, if someone was able to access your audio, they would not be able to hear sensitive work information or data.

The idea is to mitigate our risk while enjoying how these devices can improve our daily activities and provide security in some ways. Our founder can often be heard saying "there is a difference in being aware of a threat and being afraid of a threat." He is correct. This is not about fear. It is about mitigating risk and protecting our family and our data. Threat Actors are constantly looking to gather data illegally.

You will no doubtably be adding more devices in the coming years. It is who we have become and what we are demanding as consumers. With this in mind, when you purchase a new device for your home, look at the default settings and make sure you are mitigating your risk. Alexa? What is the weather for this weekend ? Ok great! Add hamburger buns to the grocery list.

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