Smart homes are they really Smart?

We all have smart devices in our homes. Our phones, TVs, cars, fridges and heating are all smart these days but how smart are they. It wouldn’t be very smart if our smart locks on our doors opened to anyone who knocks. It wouldn’t be very smart if Alexa decided to start the car for you when you’re not home. So how do we make sure our smart devices remain smart?

Well security is most important. It helps to keep your devices smart. Making sure your device can only be used by the intended user(s). To do this you need to make sure the physical device remains as secure as possible. Having someone walk away with your beloved Google Home could provide them with access to your private information. It could also let them control other ‘smart’ devices around your home.

A image showing a modern home with possible smart devices

Passwords, pin numbers and bio-metric identification. Smart devices like to know who is using them. Having your own password, allows the device to know who has asked it to perform an action. It also helps to keep your information secure. If your lighting system has a weak password then anyone with a network connection could potentially log into your account. This could enable them to make your lights change colour. Turn off completely or, perform actions such as turn red when your boss texts you.

Alexa has (with a bit of help from Ford) now got the skill to start your car for you. A benefit on those cold mornings when you don’t want to go outside and start the car to warm up. (goo.gl/uFcY3z) However, it wouldn’t be any good if someone walked past your house and shouted through your window to Alexa. This is where PIN numbers come in. Alexa will only start the car after she has received your pin number.

It would be advisable to change your PIN number on a regular basis to prevent anyone else from learning it. It would also be advised to not let your children hear you use that skill. As they might just ask Alexa to start the car for fun and leave it running. This not only contributes to global warming but also helps you burn through the money in your pocket.

The final mention has to go to biometrics. Iris scanning, fingerprints and 3D facial recognition are all bio-metric methods of identification. They work on the basis of biological information. Which is generally something unique to us such as our finger prints. Identical twins however, may be able to fool the 3D face scanning method. This is one of the most secure ways of keeping your data and smart devices safe.

The latest mobile handsets have fingerprint recognition on and the same level of security can be added to your smart lock on your front door. Having a fingerprint scanner on your front door will mean that only authorised fingerprints can unlock the door. It is easy to break a password but not so easy to replicate a fingerprint.

How do we keep our smart devices smart? Well the simple answer is, we keep them secure.

Author: Christopher Mason – Owner of CMIT Consultants

Orginally posted on CMIT Consultants blog Aug 2017

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