Technology increasingly affects all aspects of our lives, including how we drive, and even our life at home. New smart home automations are a top trend predicted for home improvement for 2014. Automation will change how we manage energy, cook, handle security and more. When it comes to smart home security, who we are protecting these homes from, and how we actually protect our homes is certainly changing; it’s going to take more than a fierce dog.
What a smart home knows
What makes these homes so smart anyway? They can save owners money by better regulating and monitoring energy and water usage. Leak detectors will let owners know immediately if there is a water leak, increasing response time and decreasing damage.
Life in the kitchen is made easier with motion sensors on faucets so users don’t have to touch handles with dirty hands. Kitchen appliances are doing more thinking, too. A dishwasher can now detect how dirty the dishes are and adjust water pressure and soap distribution accordingly. Refrigerators can quickly blast foods with colder temps if they need to be cooled quickly.
Security on a smart home starts with do it yourself motion detectors and keypads and goes to alerting parents when kids are home from school and making it easy for them to alert authorities if alarms go off unexpectedly. Alarms can even include video so owners know exactly why that door opened.
Smart home security
The iPhone is helping with the “how” of smart home security. Apps are available for homeowners to do things like turn off appliances, turn lights on and off and home monitoring. Because users can keep an eye on their homes from anywhere in the world, this certainly takes security up a notch from the motion detectors and alarm systems of yesteryear, which are still part of the complete home security package.
However, these automations also leave room for security breaches, not just from shady characters in your neighborhood, but anyone with a computer anywhere in the world. When your house is connected, hackers can find it online. You need to protect a smart home like any other connected device.
Keep it locked
When you’re using a home automation system, you must have usernames and create strong passwords (not the defaults that come with the system), even if the system doesn’t require it. Authentication requirements between handheld devices and smart home controls is essential in keeping a smart home secure.
Avoid leaving ports open or using port forwarding. Whenever possible, use VPN systems so the data is encrypted and harder for hackers to access.
Keep it private
Be careful about linking your smart home to an actual physical location. If someone is able to pull it up online and toy with lights and appliances, they may also be able to find out where it is physically located so they can open the garage door for a physical intrusion.
Smart home automation technology is exciting, but as homes get smarter, it’s going to take extra diligence to keep them secure.