Take Control of Your Smart Devices

The number of internet-connected devices in homes seems to have jumped exponentially in recent years. These devices are everywhere including the kids’ rooms, the family room, the kitchen and the garage.

This rise in internet-connected devices in homes has been growing for more than 30 years. In the 1980s, the integration of people, processes and technology with connectable devices and sensors began to enable remote monitoring of a growing number of devices.

Today, some homes have upward of 25 or 30 connected devices. And once you have a number of devices, they can start communicating with each other. This means more convenience and services for you, but it also leaves you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

By taking control of your devices, you can reduce your risk of hackers hijacking your internet-connected devices, says Cynthia Hsu, cybersecurity program manager with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

“Understand what you are buying,” Hsu says. “If you have a choice between two vendors who are producing a product and one takes security seriously and the other doesn’t, use your money to buy a product that takes security seriously.”

She also reminds homeowners to keep their wireless internet software up to date, particularly when there are security updates. Install firewalls in your home network. Always change the default passwords that equipment comes with and then change those passwords regularly.

Finally, unplug your electronics when they are not in use. Not everything has to be plugged into the internet all the time.

Be smarter than your smart devices and stay in control of your security.