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Secure Your Smart Home

Smart home ecosystems provide convenience... but potential danger as well.

by Peoria Magazine |
Smart Home

“Hey, Siri.” “Alexa, help.” “OK, Google.” From Apple HomeKit to Google Home, a variety of smart home ecosystems are now available to automate and manage your thermostats, light switches, speakers, security systems, appliances and other connected devices. By allowing homeowners to control their devices through apps on their tablets and phones, these technologies provide security, convenience, energy efficiency and comfort.

With significant investments from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon—along with the coming implementation of 5G wireless technologies—more and more homeowners will continue to embrace this kind of solution. According to PreciseSecurity.com, the global market for smart home solutions will jump from $91 billion to $158 billion over the next four years, a 15% annual growth rate.

But potential danger lies in all of this connectivity. According to data compiled by Atlas VPN, 75 percent of U.S. households will have a voice-assisted speaker by 2025—and all are at risk of being hacked. In February, a team of university researchers hacked voice assistants on 15 of the most popular smartphones, including both Apple (Siri) and Android (Google assistant) devices. By using silent ultrasonic waves to imitate voice commands and sensitive microphones to intercept and amplify the response sound, they were able to read messages, take photos and make calls on the victim’s device.

While no IT infrastructure can be 100% secured, you can reduce your risk by following some basic tips:

  • Ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure and encrypted. Change all default settings, and monitor all connected devices.
  • Use unique and hard-to-guess passwords for all accounts connected to your devices.
  • Keep all device firmware and software up-to-date, and register any new devices with the manufacturer.
  • Unplug or mute any devices that aren’t currently being used.
  • Never share sensitive information (Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.) with your voice assistant.
  • Enable voice recognition so your device can tell different voices apart. PM

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