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In the last few years, the smart home has transitioned from an interesting concept into a tangible reality. Devices such as voice-controlled speakers, networked thermostats, Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators, automated floor cleaners and smart TVs are now rapidly changing the way many houses and apartments look, feel and sound. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global market for smart homes should expand at a 13.61 percent compound annual growth rate between 2017 and 2023, reaching a staggering $137.9 billion.
While a smart home can provide some unique conveniences, it can also become a security liability. The recent VPNFilter malware affecting hundreds of thousands of routers worldwide illustrated what can go wrong when devices without the advanced protections we take for granted in PCs and smartphones (e.g., easily updated operating systems) become targets of coordinated cyberattacks. There’s also the risk from children accidentally making purchases or exposing critical data.
Here are a few tips for childproofing your smart home:
Disable voice purchasing
It’s easy, and that’s the point – voice ordering on devices like the Amazon Echo doesn’t require you to navigate a website and punch a bunch of buttons. However, it can get out of control if your child learns how to say specific phrases in its presence, triggering a potentially expensive order. Turn off this feature if you’re worried about that possibility.
Set up PINs to lock important devices and apps
With a few inadvertent clicks or taps, your child could buy a lot of virtual currency in a game or a recurring subscription to a streaming service. They could even change the settings on your smart thermostat and run up your electricity or gas bills. To avoid these situations, consider requiring a specific PIN to unlock the applications and devices in question .
Use a smart home camera if you’re away
A smart security camera can be your eyes and ears when you’re out of the house. These devices can provide HD video streams viewable on any of your phones or tablets, making them ideal for monitoring all entries and exits into your home and keeping watch on your younger children in particular.
Install security software
Software like Ultimate Internet Security from Total Defense provides an extra layer of protection for your identity and sensitive data on the devices you use to manage your smart home. Visit our shop page today to learn more.