Smart Home Cybersecurity

Smart Home Cybersecurity

news - June 2021


Smart Home Cybersecurity


Protection from cyber vulnerabilities is an essential part of today's Smart Homes.


By Steve Panosian

Smart Home cybersecurity
 

CYBERSECURITY IS AN ISSUE making its way to the forefront both nationally and across the world. News reports range from breaches involving sensitive personal information and the more recent hacking of a U.S. energy infrastructure that interrupted the supply chain management of fuel delivery to 17 or so states. When you stop to think about it, most everything we rely on today involves the Internet is some way, shape or form. Our homes are also vulnerable to this reality as they are connected at a level where security and stability must not be overlooked.

In this article we’ll discuss why we believe protecting Smart Homes from cyber vulnerabilities – while challenging – is added to the list of peace-of-mind-solutions that play into the value of a professionally automated Smart Home system and the important role technology designers play in offering services that meet these new challenges.

In our upcoming summer magazine edition, we will share additional insights about the importance of residential cyber security through our interviews with custom installers, representatives from the industry’s leading automated home control companies, and consultants that specialize in public and private industry cyber security. We believe the design-build team and technology designers should work closely on being prepared to discuss with homeowners the security solutions that are a function of their Smart Home system.

 

Snake Plant

why cybersecurity is a concern

According to a study shared by Cyber24.com, a website designed for cyber security experts, business leaders and policy makers, data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020 and another study indicates 86 percent of breaches were financially motivated. Perhaps the most revealing statistic is a staggering 80 percent of small and medium organizations do not have email or data protection in place. But what about the everyday connected home and the security of Smart Home systems?

It is estimated that there are more than 22 billion devices linked to a home internet connection around the world, and research suggests that this figure could reach 38.6 billion by 2025. In this do-more-at-home paradigm, the number of products that feature a camera or microphone has grown and continues to grow every day. This includes computers, game platforms and toys. Most everyone has a mobile phone and enjoys viewing all sorts of entertainment on a Smart TV. The ability to watch a favorite program whenever you want and on what device you want underscores how hyper-connectivity offers countless benefits but also increases the number of potential risks. This can become an issue if they are connected to the internet and do not have the necessary security measures in place.

 

basic DIY network security

In speaking with Vartan Piroumian, Enterprise Architect and technology consultant and adviser, the most basic cyber security measures that homeowners can implement on their own requires some level of understanding of all of the components involved in setting up a connected Smart Home and the various software solutions for protecting the home from a variety of cyber issues ranging from adware to malware. No different than a professionally installed system, there are basic questions that require addressing: does the router choice feature a built-in firewall because not all do; will the home network require passwords for access to Wi-Fi; does the router support a guest network with a password that precludes visitors from using your main SSID; defeating your router’s broadcast of its SSID precludes it from being seen by those looking for a Wi-Fi network to connect to; does your router’s admin account have a password—or better yet is the admin account log-in changed from the factory default; and are there other simple but important configurations suggested by the manufacturer? Also common in many routers today is activating Network Address Translation (NAT) that helps insulate your home network from unwanted outside inspection of the devices on your local network behind your router or firewall. Is it enabled by default in your router?

 

Most homeowners who subscribe to Internet services simply have their local cable company operator install the modem and the router, but very few, if any, perform any approach to security as mentioned above. And it is always an ordeal when a guest asks for the network password because it is “written down somewhere.”

When it comes to remote management and monitoring, the DIY home network and smart home enthusiast should also settle on a cyber protection software solution that fits their needs. Along with the 24/7 job of monitoring everything, this approach includes what to do if something fails and if there is a cyber security breach, with DIYer being the first one alerted by text or email.

 

custom installed smart home cybersecurity

Technology Designer Magazine's upcoming summer issue will discuss the benefits of a professionally installed Smart Home, the monitoring of the entire home’s network, and the safeguard solutions that bring peace-of-mind to the homeowner.