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Risks of Smart Devices in Your Home

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Smart devices, from voice-activated assistants to smart bulbs and thermostats, are increasingly prevalent in our homes. While these devices offer convenience and more control over your home, they can leave you at risk for privacy and security issues.

Before you invest in the latest smart oven or dishwasher, learn how the connectivity of these devices may be harmful — and what you can do to reduce the risks.

Hackers in your Home

Like it or not, every smart device can be used remotely. You can also set up automation, such as turning on lights at a particular time or changing your home’s temperature during specific hours. But it’s important to remember that everything connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked. If hackers gain access to your network, they can do anything from turning on your smart oven to unlocking your doors.

Maintain good network security by using a complex Wi-Fi password and keeping it private. Also, review and carefully manage the permissions of your apps and devices regularly. If remote control access is unnecessary or can be disconnected from the internet, you should leave it disconnected.

Financial Mishaps

Voice assistants allow you to make easy purchases from Amazon, the Google Play store, and other retailers. But if your children figure this out or your device gets hacked, you may end up with more packages arriving at your door — and higher credit card bills.

You should disable voice purchases to prevent others from ordering items through your assistant. Instead, order through an app or website. You can also allow purchases through PIN activation only and keep your PIN private.

Identity Theft

Just as hackers can get control of devices, they can access any information associated with those devices. Suppose you have saved credit card information or passwords with Google or Amazon accounts. In that case, they may get that information by hacking your intelligent devices. Again, maintaining internet security is vital with smart devices.

Technology Failure

If your Wi-Fi goes out, you still need to be able to control lights, door locks, and other smart devices you use each day. Ensure that all your purchased smart devices can be operated without Wi-Fi to avoid a complete shutdown.

Smart Devices and Your Home Insurance

Installing smart technology in your home may result in a lower insurance rate. This is because having smart products helps reduce the dangers of theft and water damage. If you limit the likelihood of these occurrences, you reduce your chances of filing a claim. As a result, the premium could be reduced.

Unfortunately, not all smart technology will help to reduce your risk. Smart TVs and Google Home do not affect your premium. Depending on their intended use, only specific products and technologies will contribute to risk reduction.

How to Stay Safe with Smart Devices

You can minimize security and privacy risks by staying on top of your smart devices. Remember to:

  • Continually update your devices and apps
  • Choose the right apps and devices by following manufacturer recommendations
  • Customize and carefully control permissions for all your devices
  • Purchase identity theft protection to protect against hackers
  • Use a complex password and two-factor authentication (such as passwords and PINs) whenever possible
  • Use remote features instead of voice activation to maintain control

More and more homes are acquiring smart devices. As technologies continue improving and integrating into homes, these simple steps can help lessen your home security vulnerability and concerns. You can still use smart devices in your home if you stay smart.

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Author Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross leads the Marketing and Communications team at Wedgwood Insurance, renowned as one of Atlantic Canada’s premier independent insurance brokers. Bringing a wealth of experience amassed over many years at some of Canada's most esteemed advertising agencies, Jamie transitioned to the insurance industry in 2017. This pivotal move has marked a period of significant professional growth and contribution to the field. A native Nova Scotian, Jamie has been a resident of St. John's, NL, since 2011, where he has become an integral part of the local community. Learn more about Jamie.

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