Company Hacks Are Everywhere—Protect Your Connected Home From Corporate Data Breaches
Hackers are getting us where we live—literally. They’ve moved from hacking email databases and credit card accounts to a much more personal space: Our home.
Amazon’s Ring, Google’s Nest and Wyze have fallen victim to the attacks. The potential vulnerability of connected smart homes leaves consumers feeling nervous and uneasy, especially when they hear reports of hackers using two-way talk functions to watch or communicate with users and their families. It seems like every day there is a news alert or email about a recent company hack; so much so that we have almost become desensitized to it.
How Can I Protect My Home?
As your privacy champion in the connected home security industry, we want to help you protect yourself from hackers. Here are our recommendations for making your security system difficult to hack:
Find out if you’ve been compromised in a hack
We recommend using a website called HaveIBeenPwned to help determine if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach. Simply type your email address into the field and any possible data breaches will be listed. If any of your information has been stolen, immediately change those passwords, lock down your accounts, and monitor any vulnerable personal information that may have been affected.
Use a unique, strong password
Whether you’ve been hacked or not, all of your accounts should have a unique, strong password that is hard for both a human and/or a computer to figure out.
Your passwords should be long, containing capital and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers mixed in. Avoid using a common phrase, common words, a famous line from a movie, or a Bible verse. Even replacing letters with numbers or symbols (like the number 3 for the letter e) is a code easily cracked by a computer.
Additionally, you put yourself at a higher risk of being hacked if you choose personal/meaningful passwords that would be easy for a human hacker to figure out—like your birthday, anniversary, or street address. A simple Google search could provide them with personal information to hack your account. It is also beneficial to make a unique password for each of your accounts rather than using the same one over and over again.
Use a password manager
Since your passwords will be long and unique to each login, they will be difficult (if not impossible) for you to remember. Therefore, we advise you to use a password manager to safely store your passwords.
There are many to choose from, and they will create and remember your passwords for you. These password managers will inform you of your password’s level of security, and some will even alert you if a service you are using gets hacked. You will only need to remember your master password, which will give you access to all of the passwords in your password manager.
Another line of defense that makes life more difficult for hackers is two-factor authentication. A special code will be sent to you via text, email, or phone as another security step in order to prove that you are really the one logging in. Even if your password is stolen, this introduces another obstacle the hacker must overcome to access your account.
Set up a secure wireless network
Strong passwords and two-factor authentication protect your connected home system from hackers across the internet, but it’s also important to protect yourself from hackers close by. You can do this by setting up a secure wireless network for security cameras and other connected home devices that run on Wi-Fi. Read our blog, “Securing Your Home Security—Setting Up Your System on a Secure Wi-Fi Network” for more detailed information.
Use a professional-grade home service provider
Just last month Wyze’s recent server leak exposed the email addresses, usernames, camera nicknames, and API tokens of 2.4 million users. During the same time period, login credentials for thousands of Ring camera owners were compromised, including emails, passwords, time zones, unique camera names, and their locations. Google Nest hackers have been accused of raising the thermostat and playing vulgar music through a family’s camera. This has happened with Ring as well. The threat is real, and your protection starts with the company in which you place your trust.
Clearly, even if you do your due diligence and secure your logins and Wi-Fi network, you are ultimately relying on the company who makes your equipment or provides the service to protect your account and data from hackers. Therefore, it is imperative to choose a company you can trust to make your security their top priority.
Some companies, such as Ring and Wyze, make growth their top priority – not security. It’s ingrained in their company culture. For example, Ring gave developers in Ukraine access to a video that was supposed to be private. Their employees have been caught looking at private customer videos as well.
As security-first companies, Alarm.com, Qolsys, and Surety make security and privacy the top priority. We all share a security-first mindset. Together, we have a proven track record for keeping your information safe. Please visit our website to learn more about Surety and Alarm.com’s products, services, and security.