Holiday season is upon us and this year more than ever before an avalanche of new gadgets and gizmos promising to make your home smarter are hitting the market… just check stores like Best Buy and you’ll see they are devoting a big chunk of real estate to home automation.

I love tech and anything shiny and cool, but that doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice cybersecurity for convenience. There is a single constant on all the home automation technologies and that is they ALL want you to connect their devices to the web using your wi-fi… and that represents the first and to some, the biggest challenge.

Smart locks, web cameras, thermostats, smart fridges, alarm systems, personal assistants, speakers and even toys are now competing for your holiday dollars and all of them require internet access right out of the box… have you ever wondered why? Because more times than none a flaw or a potential security breach has been found and the manufacturer needs to push and update RIGHT AWAY in order to avoid a lawsuit.

If you are going to get your geek on and install a smart device, make sure you go through this basic check-up before using your credit card:

  • Make sure your wi-fi’s password is strong and hard to guess
  • Keep your wireless router updated: routers run software like any other computer and these devices themselves also need patches to keep them secure
  • Do your research before hitting the store and do not fall for sales pitches
  • Buy smart devices from well known manufacturers and avoid the cheap, generic brand hardware that might costs half of less than the big names… trust me, there is a reason for that and you get what you pay for
  • If the new device requires a username and password, DO NOT use the same as your wi-fi and DO NOT use the default that comes from the manufacturer. Again, sacrificing security for convenience has a very high price tag

As always if you have any questions about tech, I’m here to help!