Smart-Home Technology is Being Targeted by Hackers

Internet-ready home devices have been on a rapid rise the past few years, but so have the risks of malicious hackers wanting to intrude on the homeowners’ privacy.

Online security groups are warning homeowners who have devices with smart technology – like thermostats, security cameras, lights, and other machines with internet connectivity – that they are prone to being hacked by cybercriminals.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate recently surveyed 4,065 adults across the United States and found out that around 45% of the participants have devices with smart technology or plan to invest in it within the year. Online-security experts are expecting smart-home hackings to increase in number even if there have been only a few reported incidents to date.

It is also believed that luxury homeowners – executives who have access to sensitive corporate data or individuals who are simply wealthy – are appealing targets as they usually are early adopters of the latest technology.

Experts are expecting smart-home hackings to increase even if there have been only a few reported incidents to date.

Based on the reports, experts also posit that the risk from having your smart-home devices hacked can range from pretty harmless pranks like hackers controlling the air-conditioning settings, to completely harmful actions like disabling surveillance cameras in the home. One of the big-picture threats would be criminals using these vulnerabilities as a backdoor to access the victim’s private information.

Over the last several years, San Francisco-based Concentric Advisors have been providing enterprise-level security services for homeowners. Their rates start at about $500 a month, with services that include the setting up of the system and monitoring the home networks.

Chubb Personal Risk Services includes questions about a homeowner’s home system setup during their initial client interviews, while also recommending steps to fortify their home security systems – according to Atlanta-based Chubb risk specialist Don Culpepper.

Security experts also recommend a few steps for homeowners: changing the default password on your device to a unique one, and protecting your network with a strong password while also making sure that your router has some type of encryption. Also, if your password is known by someone who should no longer have it, changing it immediately would be advisable.

Park City, Utah-based architect Scott Jaffa installed a Creston home-automation system along with a Lutron lighting system in his home to be able to test it for his future clients. It set him back around $135,000 when he set it up in 2012. He chose Creston since they are known for their reputable security systems, while also considering the installation company could monitor the system and in the event of a breach of the system, shut it down. Jaffa adds that he has “been very happy with the system.”

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