With the rising trend of smart home technology used by both home owners and landlords, it can create valid concerns about your privacy. Is your private life truly private? Does your smart home really keep you safer? Of course, we all recognize that the potential of using technology for spying on others exists. All any of us have to do is watch the news. Amazon’s Alexa has been the subject of multiple concerns related to privacy. Ring’s partnership with law enforcement has caused some to question how the technology and data could be used. There are video devices that are so tiny that they can be hidden under sinks, on top of doorways, and even inside of lamps. The technology is novel and great, but it could be dangerous. In this post, we’ll look at some of the dangers associated with smart home technology.
Which Smart Home Devices May Be Used for Spying?
We’ve all heard the news stories involving both baby monitors and home security systems that aren’t properly secured and, as a result, place your privacy and your family’s safety at risk. Since many people don’t do much more than just install and activate these devices, weak passwords and unsecure networks abound. Yet, there are other smart home devices that could be a problem. And the truth is, you may not have thought about some of these.
Smart door locks. Many smart door locks have cameras installed in them. Not too long ago, the biggest security concerns related to door locks included duplicate keys, lock picking, and having the door kicked in. Now, there is the lack of security when smart door locks aren’t properly configured. Improper configuration could make it easier for landlords, hackers, thieves, stalkers, and jealous significant others to gain access into your home, access other smart devices, and even lock you in or outside of your home. Be on the lookout for the smart door lock to be locking and unlocking on its own. Be suspicious of the door lock notifying you of a change that you didn’t make. Make sure that you take the proper steps to configure the smart door lock to better protect yourself and your privacy.
Smart thermostats. Smart thermostats are another gateway since it relies on your internet connection. Watch for sudden changes in temperature or other changes made to your thermostat. A news story published in January 2019 covered an Illinois woman whose smart thermostat was hacked. The thermostat was changed to 90 degrees. She also reported a deep voice talking to her child as well as someone cursing her out through her Nest system. The news story also reported that the woman did not use two-factor authentication on her system to stop unauthorized change or use.
Smart home security systems. Multiple smart home security systems have reports of improper access. In fact, Forbes reported that the PIN number and other log-in information used by homeowners is easily guessable. If you have a smart home security system, make sure that you use best practices to protect yourself and your family from prying eyes and ears.
Motion sensors. Many smart home security systems have motion detectors with built-in cameras installed with the idea that it provides extra security for the owner. A lot of smart phones also have motion detectors, too. The problem is these cameras can be used to spy on whoever is walking within the sensors line of sight or near the device. In a study conducted at Newcastle University, researchers were able to correctly guess PIN numbers an astounding 70% of the time.
The Solution? Follow Best Practices for Setting Up, Using, & Monitoring Smart Home Devices
Although smart home security devices are meant to make our lives easier and have succeeded in doing so, without following best practices for setting up, using, and maintaining the devices may create serious privacy and safety issues. Weak passwords and PINs do nothing more than provide others who have malicious intents with access to your home and life. Be sure to check that your devices are installed and used following industry best practices, including two-factor authentication.
Unfortunately, we simply cannot trust that our privacy won’t be violated by others. Always take careful note of your surroundings and always use security best practices. And, yes, it’s so important that we’ve mentioned that several times. If you believe that someone may be using a hidden camera, audio bug, or GPS to spy on you, call Spy Catchers at 1-800-373-8726 to learn how we can help you regain your peace of mind and your privacy!