As more homes add so-called “smart devices” such as heating and lighting systems operated by apps, home security isn’t just about making sure the doors and windows are bolted shut.
The security experts at Symantec, the folks behind Norton, checked out 50 smart home devices and what they found is not good news. The company estimates that nearly 3 million smart home devices will be connected to Internet this year. They analyzed devices including smart thermostats, locks, light bulbs, smoke detectors, energy management system and home hubs.
These devices could be accessed by the companies that made them via the Internet and also by users who can remotely control them through web pages or apps.
The bad news is that Symantec found that none of the devices had strict authentication or passwords. In fact, many of them wouldn’t allow users to put in a strong password because they depended on a 4-digit PIN code.
The devices were also vulnerable to some common web security issues. They even found a smart door lock that could be opened remotely without even knowing the password.
What’s worse is that someone who managed to hack your home network wouldn’t even need authentication to attack your home.
Symantec says the best defense is to demand that manufacturers use stricter standards, but they also suggest that you beef up your personal security by using strong and frequently changed passwords for your Wi-Fi network. If it’s possible to set up a stronger encryption method, do it. They even suggest wired connections whenever possible. Lastly, consider if you really need those smart functions at all.