If you're one of the millions who use smart devices throughout your home, take heed.
Along with the wonder of touch-of-a-button Internet home control comes the growing problem of cybercrime. And without precautions, you could be the next victim. The use of smart devices is projected to reach 50 billion by 2020, according to Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group. With so many smart devices and the availability of easy to use hacking software such as Miria, home-targeted cybercrime is a growing problem.
Take steps now to keep your home, financial data and you, safe. Follow these valuable tips on how to keep hackers out of your house, as seen in Bradley K. Tuttle's Real Estate Update.
1. Change the default setting on your smart device.
In today's busy world, manufacturers add out-of-the box convenience by shipping devices with default settings enabled. While instant operation is fun and easy, the default settings are an easy target for Mirai, the hacking software. When enabling a new smart device, change the default settings at initial start-up.
2. Update passwords at least once a year.
Passwords seem to be taking over our lives: we all have far too many. But in our connected world, multiple passwords – and lots of them – are unavoidable. Given that, be sure to change your passwords each year. Never use names, address or birthdays, or easy to guess passwords like 'admin' or '1234.' While it's easy for you to remember, it's also easy to hack. It's equivalent to leaving the key in your front door.
3. Add an extra authentication protocol.
Now that you are managing your passwords wisely, beef up your security with an extra step for gaining access. The added security layer could be a one-time pin you receive by text. Or, it could be biometric authentication, which relies on a unique thumbprint, eye-scan or user's unique keystrokes. This extra step makes it harder for hackers to bust into your smart devices.
4. Check your smart devices for firmware updates.
While updates may be annoying, and notification of updates equally as annoying, keeping your software loaded with the latest fixes helps keep out hackers. Once a month, check the web app of your smart device for firmware updates. Then install the update.
5. If you experience a security breach, immediately take action.
Update passwords, notify credit card companies and file a police report. Never use public Wi-Fi networks and don't keep smart devices on the same network as your PC. This will minimize hacking across different devices.
Although manufacturers of smart devices need to improve their built-in security, users need to be as vigilant about smart device security as they are with credit cards, computers and locking the house when you're away.
RE/MAX of Boulder Broker/Owner Jay Kalinski is an experienced Realtor, lawyer, and veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Jay grew up in Boulder and obtained his undergraduate degree from the CU-Boulder and his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Law School. Jay focuses on both residential and commercial real estate and is experienced with real estate development and investment. He is a zealous advocate for his clients as well as an avid triathlete, runner, reader and supporter of Veterans’ causes.