Is my home network hackable? Smart home gadgets may be spying on us.

hacker's hand reaching through our laptop to steal information through our home devices

Find out what you can you do to protect your privacy from these “All seeing, All hearing’ smart home devices, preventing smart home devices from becoming vulnerable to attack from hackers and compromised your security.

Is the Smart Home Hackable?

Connectivity to our world has a huge array of advantages, but is it making our home hackable? Working from home has never been easier, we can check that family members are ok, keep our homes safe, shop from the comfort of our sofa, download our favourite music & films – the possibilities are endless, but how many give consideration to our personal privacy and safety? Over the last few years there have been an increasing number of articles on how everyday smart home gadgets (the internet of things or IoT) like out smart TV, can ‘listen’ to conversations within the home and even alert a third party!

Voice activated devices which are always listening

In 2016 Amazon Alexa joined Apple Siri in the voice activated market and new devices are constantly being introduced to the market – like smart TVs, games consoles and smart appliances. Voice activation is a quick and easy way to access information, music, videos etc. without the need to stop what you are doing, but in order for them to work effectively they are permanently switched ‘on’. Increasingly experts have recognised that if information can be downloaded, then information can be taken up too, so they not only capture your commands, but all spoken words too!

eye spying and ear listening, smart home devices spying on us

Is my being email is scanned?

Our written words are also accessible; for example, Google Gmail has the ability to monitor every email and works out the goods you may want to buy and will target you accordingly. Many of the Apps and mail servers can be accessible to unwanted interest as they pass through unknown servers, routers and devices.

Is my wireless network hackable?

With the availability of wi-fi, we have more connected to the home network than ever before – laptops, gaming consoles, TVs, phones, tablets, CCTV, lighting control, thermostats like Nest, all access the wireless network and are capable of being hacked!

So what can we do to protect our privacy from these “All seeing, All hearing’ devices?

A robust, reliable network is a must in any home; this will require the installation of a router and some strategically placed wireless access points (network boosters) to support connectivity throughout the home. As a “Big Dog’ installer, Intelligent Abodes, are approved to supply and integrate Ruckus wireless access points. What I particularly like about it, is that it not only do Ruckus offer ‘best in class’ performance, creating a mesh which allows signal steering to give better connectivity where it is needed, but it has the highest level of security available, protecting your home from unwanted users or interest.

Secure your router

A router is key to managing unwanted access and preventing your home from becoming hackable, but it needs to be set up correctly to ensure you maximise the security features. Encryption is essential and is a part of the technology many of us use on a daily basis – Apple iPhones, Whats App – all use end-to-end encryption so only users see the information.

End-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption scrambles the information so that as your data passes through unknown servers and devices, it is impossible to read; when it reaches the rightful recipient it is transformed to its original format.

Update your firmware

Karen Chugg, from Intelligent Abodes, comments ‘One of the biggest problems we encounter is that clients purchase an item, but forget to regularly update the firmware, this not only leads to performance issues, but is can affect the quality of security’. Technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, so we need to be vigilant and update regularly or have a maintenance plan in place to ensure it is running with the latest updates and security patches.

Secure your smart home devices with a VPN

We also set up VPNs (Virtual Private Network) for our clients so that they have the ability to securely connect to home devices remotely. VPNs allow you to encrypt the information going to and from your devices, so that you can create a private connection between you and your home network. This means you can check cameras, temperature, adjust automated curtains and blinds, lighting without worrying that someone else can do the same thing!

Get in touch if you would like some more information on how to prevent your home from becoming hackable.

Smart phone showing linked internet of things