ORLANDO, Fla. – Over 14 billion connected devices, also called “smart” devices, were used in 2019, and by 2021, that number has reached 25 billion. But while turning on your oven or unlocking your door from your phone may be convenient for you, it is also convenient for hackers. This year, an estimated one in 15 people will have their identity stolen. Here are some ways to outsmart these smart home hackers.
Your speakers, your lightbulbs, your thermostat, locks, doorbell, oven, car, phone, watch, even your toilet! There are currently 42 million homes in the U.S. that are considered smart homes and over 40 percent of those have at least one device vulnerable to a cyber-attack. “Everything we’re creating to make our lives easier is when things start to get out of control,” said Regine Bonneau, CEO of RB Advisory and Cyber Security Consultant.
To guard your home from a cyber strike, secure your Wi-fi network. Most routers come with easy-to-guess, generic settings. Change to a strong password. Next, diversify your passwords for all your devices and services. The Verizon 2019 data breach report stated that 80 percent of hacking breaches were related to weak passwords. Also, be sure to register all of your devices with the manufacturer. Most companies release software patches to upgrade security over time.
If you decide to sell, give away, or toss out your smart device, most manufacturers advise that you factory reset your device and remove all personal data. A factory reset ensures the next person to get their hands on your device can’t automatically access all your information or communicate with the other devices in your network.