Smart home technology is projected to be a major industry in the next few years. The technology is starting to penetrate the mainstream and has become an essential part of day-to-day life. It’s one of the best ways to simplify life and enhance security. However, despite the benefits, smart home devices come with a fair share of problems. Experts warn that before you install smart devices in your home, you should learn about the potential risks involved.
What is Smart Home Technology?
Smart home systems are automated devices designed to perform or manage routine tasks. The concept is not new. Having robotic servants is an idea that has been around. While many domestic devices such as vacuum cleaners and dishwashers are manually operated, smart technology makes it possible to operate such devices remotely. You can even automate the process to ensure the device performs assigned tasks when a certain trigger occurs.
Risks of Smart Home Technology
1. Privacy Breach
One of the biggest concerns against smart home gadgets is the question of privacy. Most smart home devices allow you to connect multiple gadgets through a home router. Once all your devices are linked, you can control different things in your home from your phone, through voice activation, or a touch. While this shows the handiness of smart tech, it leaves you vulnerable to physical and digital intrusion.
Once you install a smart home system, you must ensure an impenetrable security for your router. Someone can hack into the router and access settings. Hackers could even go further and change the entry code, allowing them to enter your home. Having a strong password for your smart home security system is paramount to shield yourself from any attacks.
2. Theft of Identity
It’s not just your home security system that could be exposed to hackers when you use smart technology. With many of your devices connected, hackers can access them all by breaching security on one appliance. This could expose essential information, like your passwords or bank details, to exploitation. You are advised to add identity protection tools to the system if you want to use smart tech to manage different operations in your home.
3. Power Outage
Another risk of integrating smart home tech in all aspects of your home is being too reliant on one power source. While the technology offers usability and convenience, you could have problems accessing different parts of your home in case of a power outage. Many basic functions of your appliances may not work without a connection to the smart home system.
For example, your security system could fail if power goes out. Always have an option to override the settings if there is an outage. You may have the best kitchen gadgets, but if you cannot use them when there is a power outage, you might want to rethink your decision. Also, install a power backup to keep the home running if you plan to integrate smart technology in many functions.
4. Data Collection
You might not know it, but your smart home products collect vast amounts of data every day. This data is handed to companies, which could use it for different purposes without your knowledge. Increased presence of technology raises the capacity for tech companies to collect user data. With this data, companies can optimize advertising aimed towards you. Although this might not have any sinister motive behind it, it’s important to be aware that you accept to share your data when you sign into a smart device. Most of the information is stored in a database indefinitely.
5. Health Concerns
There are also concerns that IoT devices could have an impact on your health. Most of these devices emit Electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which according to WHO, are possibly carcinogenic. Although the radiation from the devices is low, high exposure levels could lead to health complications.
If you have linked many devices, you will be bombarded with EMF radiation from all areas of your home. People more sensitive to radiation will experience brain fog, headaches, and poor sleep.
6. Camera Exploitation
Smart doorbells and fun applications such as the Echo use cameras to improve functionality and access. You can control the camera feed to view different areas of your home. A hacker looking to access the home network could exploit the camera system to locate vulnerabilities. Once inside, they can seize control of the camera and intercept security and warning messages.
Mitigate Risks When Using Smart Home Devices
Before you install smart home tech, know what each device does and the risks inherent. Always update your devices to the most recent software version to ensure the highest level of security.
Also, be aware of phishing attempts. Don’t click on links sent to you unless you verify the prompts are from a trusted source you have a relationship with. Most importantly, set strong passwords. Avoid common choices such as your phone number or name as these increase risk of exploitation.
Smart home technology is a good way to enhance efficiency and improve your quality of life. Before installing the technology, understand the risks you are exposed to and how to mitigate those risks. Find ways to improve security to ensure you don’t fall for attempts by hackers or users with malicious intent.
Do you use smart home technology? Share your experience in the comments below.