How a Smart Home Is at Risk

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017

Smart homes can be susceptible to viruses, if homeowners aren’t careful.

Many smart home devices are vulnerable, security experts say. A flood of inexpensive security cameras, thermostats, and other internet-connected devices have come to the market, and many of them are carrying minimal safeguards against remote hacking, The Wall Street Journal reports. What’s more, often times, many owners don’t realize their devices contain malicious software.

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These threats are allowing hackers to do everything from peer into internet-enabled cameras to infecting digital thermostats to attacking computers where bank account information or sensitive data is available.

"The devices continue to function and that's mostly what the owners are concerned about," says Steve McGregory, a researcher at security firm Ixia. "Who's responsible for it? There's a line of people that you could look at and say, 'You should probably do more.'"

The Wall Street Journal offers up some of the following tips from experts on how to better secure a smart home:

  • Do a hard reset: Some more basic computer viruses that lurk on home routers and digital video recorders are unable to survive a hard reset. If an infection is ever suspected, power off the machine.
  • Update your password: Don’t use simple passwords like “12345” or “admin.” Have a unique username and password to protect the machine from threats.
  • Perform updates: Some companies offer software patches if a security vulnerability threatens a device. But the user also is the one who has to initiate these updates. Enable automatic updates, whenever possible.

Source: “How to Secure Your Smart Home,” The Wall Street Journal (March 17, 2017) [Log-in required.]