The smart home devices they are always very seductive. Refrigerators that give us recipes, ovens that automatically regulate the cooking temperature, Alexa from Amazon or Siri from Apple and appliances that we can remotely turn on and off by Wifi. However, these advances open the door to possible attacks, which in some cases go to extremes.
Last week the edition number 53 of the most important consumer technology fair in the world: the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). And much of what was presented there, between the best and the most bizarre, will soon arrive in Argentina: this is why cybersecurity experts give some advice to understand not only what we gain when we have a smart device at home, but also, what can we lose.
“Smart home devices can entertain us and save us time to enjoy the things that matter, but can also become liabilities to the cyber attackers who consider them easy targets, “explained Luis Corrons, a researcher at Avast, the same one we all know from the free antivirus.
Samsung’s smart refrigerator, the “Family Hub”, was unveiled at this 2021 edition of CES. Samsung Photo
What can they do? “Cyber attackers can exploit weaknesses (exploits) smart home device security to gain access to your home networks for steal confidential data or, more alarmingly, to take control of your devices and monitor you and your family“He added. This is undoubtedly the most worrying.
The numbers are interesting: According to a study published last year by Statista1, in 2020 the total global shipment of smart home devices reached around 854 million units, of which 353.9 million come from the video entertainment category. And that, surely, the different confinements around the world have intensified.
Video platforms, gateway. AP Photo
The same Statista report also found that the average number of connected devices is expected to increase with an annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2020 and 2024.
Avast research shows that the proportion of Argentine households that have five or more devices grew from 42.91% in December 2019 to 53.11% in September 2020.
“Argentines looking to upgrade or start investing in smart home technology this year should consider buy devices from reputable manufacturers recognized that they are more likely to have more security functions and provide device updates so that the firmware can be updated with the latest versions and patches ”added the specialist.
“When setting up your device, be sure to change the default password to something complicated and consider installing a digital security product, such as Avast Free Antivirus or Avast Premier, that allows you to scan your local network for insecure IoT devices,” he explains.
Smart homes: households have five or more devices grew up to 50% in 2020. AFP Photo
Tips for a smart family hub
These are the tips that the specialist shared with Clarion:
- Take the time to choose the right smart home devices. When purchasing a new smart home device, consider purchasing products from manufacturers of renowned renown. They are more likely to have produced devices with security in mind. Also verify that they provide security updates so that the firmware can be repaired if necessary. Before adding a new connected device to your network, take the time to understand everything about it, including how you collect and use your data and the features of the device to make sure you understand what you can disable for added security.
Weak passwords, a very common mistake. Photo Pexels
- Change the default password. Take this as a rule of thumb for any device that comes with a default password, not just your Wi-Fi router. Always change the default password to a complex password, which should be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters if possible. By choosing not to update the default login details, homeowners are making it easy for hackers. Most criminals can guess or guess a default password, allowing them to breach a network and even link a smart home device to a botnet, a collection of Internet-connected devices controlled by cybercriminals.
Two-step verification, a very effective security measure. Google Photo
- Set up two-step authentication. Wherever possible, owners should also strengthen device security by using two-step verification, a process that requires two authentication methods to gain access that can help prevent attacks if your password is discovered.
Windows Update. Photo Windows
- Update asap always. It can’t be stressed enough: keep your IoT device firmware up-to-date with the latest versions and patches available. The cause of most of these updates is that a security flaw in the previous version has been found and exploited, so you should stop running that compromised version immediately. Also, when considering a new IoT device, take a look at its upgrade process. Make sure it’s easy and straightforward and that you are notified when a new update is ready.
Consoles are part of the home network and are another gateway. Photo Nintendo
- Consider dividing your home network. Dividing a home network in two could also be beneficial. As part of its recommendations for strong digital security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has suggested that homeowners keep devices that carry sensitive data, such as a laptop and smartphones, on a different network than those they support. smart home devices. Using this configuration, a hacker would not be able to directly access a personal laptop if he breached a smart home device. This network could also function as a secondary guest network; protect sensitive devices if their bad browsing behavior creates a security problem.
Phishing, one of the great problems of cybersecurity. Photo Shutterstock
- Consider cybersecurity. Everyone’s protection is in your own hands these days, so it’s a good idea to have backups for added peace of mind. Consider installing a digital security product that evaluates your IoT devices connected to your network, reporting any anomalies. Wi-Fi Inspector, which is part of Avast Free Antivirus and Premium Security, runs locally on a user’s personal computer and performs network scans of the local subnet for devices that accept weak credentials or have remotely exploitable vulnerabilities. , alerting users to security problems it encounters.
SolaWinds, the most resonant case of personal data theft of users of 2020., Photo EFE
- Erase your personal data from the old smart home security before disposing of it. If you’re getting rid of older smart home security products, make sure to erase all your personal data and information, delete your account if you no longer need it, and perform a factory reset on the device. Also, be sure to remove the device from your online accounts, networks, or apps you’ve linked it to.
2020 was the year of cyberattacks, largely due to the coronavirus crisis.
2021 does not seem to look very different in principle: prevention is always better than cure.
With information from Avast and Agencies