Hacking the Home

Cybersecurity news isn’t just for your email and online banking. It’s now important for your doorbell. One of the more disturbing trends has been the increase of news stories about internet-connected devices in one’s home being hacked. So far we’ve seen people experience everything from baby monitors being hacked to smart-TVs, “Ring” video devices, and Amazon Alexa/Google Home devices.

As a result, the FBI has issued new warnings and tips for building cybersecurity for your “internet of things” (IoT), a catch-all term for the internet-enabled devices around your home.

While increased connectivity is convenient and can even save us money in utility costs, it may come at a price. One of those costs is the increased rate of cyber-attacks. A hacking attack now occurs every 39 seconds, and with more cyber-pathways into your home, it’s important to keep things secure.

Cybersecurity Tips for Your Home

The first thing recommended is to take an inventory of your digital life and internet-enabled devices. We have fitness trackers, phones, TVs, digital-assistants (Home/Alexa), and now refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances. You may have devices connected to home automation systems that control lighting, HVAC, door locks, and more.

Next, build up your “digital defense” with these recommendations:

  • Change default passwords to case-sensitive ones that use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Use unique passwords for each IoT device
  • Check the permissions that associated mobile apps request (commonly, mic and camera) and say “no” to requests that don’t make sense
  • Keep info-sensitive devices on a different network. Secure your networks and use a separate network (separate router) for laptops/phones to keep them separate from IoT devices and appliances
  • Always update devices for available software/firmware upgrades

The FBI encourages the public to report any attempt of cyber fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov or your local FBI office.

Smart Homes Smartly Built

It’s an exciting time to build a home. Advancements in technology and AI are making homes smarter and more efficient. However, they can be openings for hackers.

Take your time to learn how internet-enabled devices work and how to secure them. Hire a builder that is looking out for your best interests.

Odom Design designs and builds unique custom homes in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As a high-end design-build firm, we partner with businesses that deliver exceptional quality, and this now includes home cybersecurity.

To learn more about our services, visit our website and drop us a line!