What you need to know about smart home technology

Today, we have technology at our fingertips that allows us to manage appliances and devices in our home with ease. From turning on lights when you’re not home to adjusting your thermostat and managing security cameras, there are a number of gadgets you can now rely on to create a more efficient and smarter home. 

As convenient as it may be, this technology comes with its own challenges. All smart home products are connected to the Internet, making you susceptible to rising cybercrime. If you’re one of the 57% of Americans who use smart home products to save time throughout the day, keep reading to ensure you, your family, and your home remain safe.

How you’re vulnerable to a security hack

Anytime you are connected to the Internet or a network, you are at risk for a cyber attack. Hackers have been able to hijack camera monitors and access webcams, learn passwords and financial information, and control devices from thousands of miles away. Because many devices you may be connecting your smart products to do not have substantial built-in security, they’re at a higher risk for malware. 

How you can protect yourself

There are many steps you can take to help protect yourself and your home from the risk of cybercrime through smart home products — and it starts with your Wi-Fi. You’re likely connecting many, if not all, of your smart home products to your network so having a strong foundation of a secure Wi-Fi will help keep you safe.

  • Re-name your router — many routers come with a name that identifies its make and model. Apply a new name to it that is free of any personal information such as last name or address.
  • Change your Wi-Fi password — similar to the router name, manufacturer designed passwords can make it easier for hackers to infiltrate your network. 
  • Set up a guest network —your Wi-Fi network should be private and sharing your password with friends and guests is discouraged. Consider establishing a separate network that isn’t tied to your main Wi-Fi. If you’re not able to do this, you should at least change your password after you’ve had guests stay with you and use your Wi-Fi.
  • Use a strong password — hackers are skilled in knowing the common passwords and identifying personal information to break into your network. A combination of letters, numbers, and symbols is encouraged; and be sure to avoid using any identifying words or numbers such as birthdays or pet names.
  • Double-check the settings on your devices — the default privacy settings may be putting you at risk without even realizing it. Before connecting your device, check the security settings it came with to be sure you’re not sharing any personal information and to disable any features you may not need such as remote access.
  • Update your software — manufacturers are constantly making security updates to devices so be sure to install the latest version as soon as you get the notification.
  • Set up two-factor authentication — many devices now allow a 2-step process to connect to a network or log in to a device such as sending a code to your cell phone. This added step can help deter hackers.
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi — as tempting as it may be to access public Wi-Fi on the go, it’s not a good idea. Any time you connect to a public network you are putting any information on your device at risk.

We hope these tips help keep you, your family and your home safe. If you have more questions, we work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help. Visit our website to find a local agent near you: http://bit.ly/QMFindAnAgent    





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