What is the Risk Associated With Smart Technology?
Today’s most recent innovations can significantly enhance various aspects of your daily life.
Smart technology is one such innovation! The popularity of smart technology has gained lots of traction in the last few years thanks to the potential benefits it guarantees.
The prospect of incorporating the use of smart devices in your home can make your life somewhat easier, more comfortable and highly convenient. Smart technology is a great way to automate your home and make it more tech-savvy.
In its simplest form, smart technology may be defined as the remote monitoring and control of your home appliances and devices. It makes it possible for homeowners to either locally or remotely use their favorite electrical devices. This not only makes your life fairly more convenient, secure and comfortable but equally ensures that you are minimizing your monthly energy bills as much as possible.
Simply put, you have every reason to embrace the power and magic of smart technology.
However, despite all the potential advantages that it brings on board, smart technology also has its fair share of disadvantages.
Just like every coin, there are two sides to technology. The technology learning curve, sedentary lifestyle, installation costs, and internet reliance are notable demerits of the smart home.
While homeowners can easily mitigate most of the above issues, there is one major problem with smart technology that perhaps needs lots of attention; the security and privacy concern.
So what is the risk associated with smart technology used in networked devices?
The relatively more advanced security system provided by smart homes is arguably one of their major strengths. But, let us not forget that any device connected to the internet is susceptible to a cyberattack.
Simply put, no technology is a hundred percent foolproof, and smart technology is no exception!
So, if you have just installed smart appliances and you are now thinking of automating your home, kindly take your time and go through this particular piece because we want to unearth all the potential risks that come with smart technology used in networked appliances.
When it comes to smart tech and home automation, in general, you have to consider the fact that having all your house appliances and devices so connected gives service providers a great chance to collect vital information about you.
Currently, there are billions of things connected to billions of data centers, greatly putting smart technology users to privacy risk. It is projected that by the end of 2020, there will be more than 20.4 billion connected things in the world.
We love and use smart home appliances almost without thinking! You happily install sensor-controlled lighting, security cameras, and thermostats. They give us the power and freedom that stems from the simple ability of these electrical devices to make our life easier. And this only means that your smart speakers are always listening!
When it comes to privacy matters, your Google voice-controlled assistant or Amazon Alexa is always the first culprit.
They constantly interact with companies, meaning your data is no longer yours. Companies gather vital information and will always attempt to monetize every single move you might make whilst you are online. All your movements are plotted and your consumer buying habits are highly scrutinized.
Whether you like it or not, this is the naked truth! While smart speakers listen and learn everything that you say to them to better solve your concerns, they are also here to sell you more products and services.
For instance, if you ask your Google Home how to fix a damaged thermostat, you shouldn’t be overly surprised that next time you surf the internet you see lots of programmable thermostat ads.
While being connected the way we in this 21st century enhances our level of convenience, there are is an expensive price to pay! And that heavy price may well be your privacy.
These are attacks that are usually aimed at extorting money from unsuspecting users, interrupting the normal operation of connected appliances, accessing, altering or destroying sensitive information and personal data, and perhaps interfering with normal business operations and processes.
Since the onset of IoT, electronic home devices including thermostats, lights, alarms, security cameras, smart door locks are all easily accessible and controlled through computers or smartphones with internet access.
While the convenience of smart tech is enticing to the users, few are aware of the associated risks.
Research has consistently indicated that as you connect appliances to a smart gateway that operates under internet connection, your home router is the most vulnerable apparatus in the overall smart home setup.
So, if your home is equipped with a Wi-Fi network that supports the functionality of other connected appliances, just know that a hacked router opens up the door for all sorts of cybercriminals to gain access to your personal information, security cameras, and computers.
Simply put, your home router is the weakest point when it comes to cyberattacks.
Businesses aren’t safe from cyberattacks either.
Every business has thousands of internet-connected machines. While this IoT has enabled firms to operate more optimally, efficiently and effectively, it also presents a far larger security risk than most businesses realize.
Perhaps this is because many IoT machines that have found their way into business enterprises were never specifically designed to the same security standards similar to their conventional IT equipment counterparts.
This only implies that any internet-connected machine or device in the typical enterprise environment today, including AV equipment, printers, scanners, Wi-Fi enabled security cameras, office speakerphones, as well as other appliances, can be easily hacked by cybercriminals without your knowledge and vital information stolen.
Power outages and technology failure
It is imperative to note that an automated system that is connected to the internet will be down when the power is out.
However, home security systems equipped with back up batteries for outages, or operate over traditional phone lines will always continue to communicate with the designated monitoring center when there is a power outage.
Research has proven that security systems that are run through the internet are the most vulnerable during power outages. This is because power loss usually leads to internet outage as well.
Without an internet connection to a security monitoring center, systems usually stop relaying information until power is restored and the internet-connected restored as well.
Along with power failure, technology hitches equally present a considerable amount of challenge. And even a very simple technical problem could easily result in your smart home facing lots of security threats. Simply put, all these incidences invite inconvenience and vulnerability.
As a smart homeowner, do you know what’s happening with your identity at the moment?
If you didn’t know, cybercriminals have the potential to hack your devices, steal sensitive information such as your bank accounts, social security number, passwords and use this information to carry out other malicious activities elsewhere. This puts your safety in great danger because should these criminals commit a serious crime using your personal information, you’ll be answerable to the authorities.
If you have already made your home smart and have nearly every single electronic appliance and device connected over the internet, it is highly advisable that you know and understand the security risks that surround your home.
So, in this section, we want to provide you with practical tips on how to secure your automated home for the better.
Make sure you follow all these smart technology security practices to help keep your home or business establishment against the claws of cyber attackers.
Reducing the risk of smart technology
- Always use strong passwords: It is extremely important to use strong passwords when using your smart devices remotely. Simple and short passwords are relatively easier to figure out. And for a hacker who already knows you, the process of tracing your passwords will be even much easier! This is because most of us use familiar numbers and words to create passwords, such as your date f birth, or pet’s names. You should also know that using similar passwords for every single appliance can be risky. According to Microsoft, a strong password is one that makes use of both lower case and upper case letters, in addition to symbols and numbers, and features at least six characters.
- If possible, try to use the remote functionality as opposed to voice activation which can be prone to vulnerabilities.
- Secure your computers and other connected smart devices: one major mistake that most smart technology users often make is the failure to secure all the computing devices they use. For instance, most of the usually opt to use the Remember Me feature for added convenience so that you don’t need to enter either type your password or username every time you need to log into various smart home technology systems. This can potentially turn into a security nightmare for an office or home with numerous interconnected appliances.
- Invest in a high-quality identity theft protection tool: With the right tool at your disposal, you will be able to fully enjoy the unmatched convenience and energy-efficiency offered by smart technology with little stress. These tools can detect the malicious use of your information and personal data, helping you to catch cybercriminals in their tracks.
- Also, due diligence should guide you toward choosing the right apps, especially those that are highly recommended by your manufacturer.
- Routinely update both your smart devices, programs, and applications.
As we previously mentioned, smart technology is a highly promising and amazing invention that we will all embrace at some point.
The benefits it offers are potentially endless. However, it does have its fair share of disadvantages, one of which is a security risk.
As a smart homeowner, you must do your research to assess all the risks associated with bringing today’s smart living into your premises.