Connected home devices are quickly filling up households. From your smartphone to wireless buttons to order new coffee filters, your house could easily have dozens of different devices connected to the Internet. Before embracing a fully connected home, there are few things you should consider to stay safer.
Understanding IoT Devices
Pro Tip: IoT stands for the Internet of Things.
Cars, wearables, and home tech gadgets are all part of the Internet of Things, commonly referred to as IoT. Think of IoT as any physical devices that connect to the Internet. By 2020, Cisco expects the number of connected devices across the globe to rise from 15 billion to 50 billion. Intel estimates a rise of up to 200 billion.
Many people are eager to create their own smart home with items such as:
- Smartphones and tablets
- Kitchen appliances, such as smart stoves, coffee makers, and refrigerators
- Fitness equipment to track progress and provide reports
- Home security systems
- Wearables, such as fitness bands
- Wireless ordering buttons for everyday items
In 2014 alone, consumers spent $79.4 billion on smart home devices. That number continues to increase as consumers continue to connect their homes to the Internet.
Benefits of Connected Home Devices
Automation and convenience are the two biggest benefits of connected home devices. For instance, imagine you’re at the grocery store and can’t remember whether or not you’re out of milk. If you have a connected refrigerator, you can bring up the app and see exactly what you need.
The same is true with controlling your home when you’re out of town. With a home automation system, you’re able to control the temperature, lights, locks, and more all from your mobile device.
Some connected home devices allow you to order products with the press of a button. Once set up, these buttons connect to an online account to order paper towels, toilet paper, coffee filters, and many other household items you regularly use. It’s convenient and ensures you don’t run out of the things you need.
Drawbacks of Connected Devices
All these benefits sound great, but there is a downside. Every device that’s connected is transmitting data. The question is – where does all this information go? Currently, marketing firms are trying to figure out ways to use connected home devices to better personalize how they market to you, which may or may not be a good thing.
The next issue is security. There aren’t any set standards for IoT security or encryption just yet. With the growing popularity, that should change, but it will likely take a while to establish among all connected home devices.
Of course, hackers are starting to take notice as well, especially with any devices that may transmit personal data. Hackers could disable security alarms, unlock doors, and disable cameras in your home. They could even install malware to compromise your network. It’s not a wide spread issue yet, but it is a security concern.
Staying Safe with IoT Devices
Connected home devices are too useful to ignore. With the right safety precautions, they’re just as safe as your computer and mobile devices. Before you connect any devices, install a comprehensive antivirus program on your computer and mobile devices. This helps prevent and remove malware from your network.
The next step is to create strong passwords for every user. The harder an account is to crack, the more difficult it is for a hacker to gain access to your connected home devices. Use different passwords for different devices for optimal security.
Finally, enable System Restore on your computer. If something does go wrong, you can roll your computer back to an earlier point:
- Go to Start and type Restore in the search box.
- Choose Create a restore point.
- Select your hard drive and click Configure.
- Click Turn on system protection and set how much disk space you want to use.
- Click OK to save your settings.
As more and more connected home devices become available on the market, it’s important to keep your privacy and security in mind as you connect any new device to the Internet.
Related Read: How to Spot 6 Sneaky Types of Computer Malware