5 Smart Home Cyberattacks and How to Avoid Them

From hijacking to identity theft to man-in-the-middle attacks, there are plenty of threats to your smart home. Here are five common types of attacks and how to protect your smart home from hackers who try to use them.

1. Device Hijacking

Cyber thieves could hijack your smart device without you knowing. An attack can be hard to detect, but there are ways you can reduce your risk. Select products with the latest security and industry-standard encryption features to guard against spying. Next, add virtual locks. Use separate Wi-Fi networks for your smart home and your personal devices. This way you’re creating a wall between devices, making it harder for criminals to access your personal data.

2. Identity and Data Theft via Smart Home Devices

While storing your credit card on your smart fridge makes ordering groceries easy, a thief could easily obtain that information if your smart home devices are hacked. Think twice about storing sensitive data on your smart devices to limit the chances of identity theft. Also, regularly review credit card bills, bank statements and phone bills. If something seems fishy, contact creditors right away.

3. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) Attacks

MitM attacks require you, your device and the thief or “man in the middle” who’s intercepting your device’s Wi-Fi connection. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t be aware of the third party who may access, say, your smart speaker as a way to spy on you, steal your data or access account login credentials.

Minimize the threat of an MitM attack with a secure home Wi-Fi connection. When you’re away from home, use a virtual private network (VPN) instead of public Wi-Fi. VPN connections limit the chances of being infected with malware that you could bring home and spread to your home system.

4. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

Common DDoS tactics include a hacker overloading your device — typically your router. The informational assault results in your router operating poorly or not operating at all. Reduce your chances of a DDoS attack by hard wiring your router to the network instead of using a wireless connection. If you go wireless, change the default password to something private when bringing your router online. Regularly update your router’s software.

5. Unauthorized Virtual Doors and Smart Locks Access

Smart locks are a convenient way to remotely lock and unlock doors. You simply enter a unique access code on a pin pad or use the available app. Since your door lock system can be integrated into your smart home hub, you should protect it as you would any of your devices against break ins. Thieves will try to hijack your system password to get door codes and access your home. Again, a strong password is a good first line of defense. Also, keep the app updated. If available, enable two-factor authentication. You’ll enter your access code and a thumb print as the second factor before the lock releases.

Stop Cyber Criminal in Their Tracks

Farm Bureau can help you stay protected when cyber criminals attack. Contact your Farm Bureau agent for help protecting your smart home before a cyberattack.