Electronics for the home are all the rage. With the advances witnessed in technology in the past three to four years, it’s no wonder why smart home devices are so popular. For those new to the world of smart home devices, these products can respond to an external stimulus. In essence, a smart device responds to and molds its responses to your actions.
Some of the smart home devices you may have heard of include SkyBell’s HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell or Belkin’s WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug. The Doorbell is a high-tech version of a normal doorbell. When someone rings it, you receive an alert through the product’s app and you get to talk to them via the app. The Smart Plug lets you control things such as lamps and heaters via Wi-Fi. However, this post covers the best smart home devices you can buy on the market today. Specifically, we will focus on the security of these devices. Can you put your trust in these machines?
1. Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is the quintessential smart home device. According to Fortune.com, it dominates the marketing landscape, and it was the first smart home device to make waves in the mainstream. Introducing consumers to the concept of using your voice to command devices, the Echo etched its place in history over the last couple of years. With all this praise, the question of security arises. As with any technological device, security is an essential factor to research.
Regarding hacking and actions of this nature, Echo is moderately safe. You don’t need to worry about a criminal hacking into your Echo and stealing information. However, the one thing you may need to keep an eye on is your privacy.
Some companies admitted to having their devices always listening to your conversations. This shadowy advance in technology is a slippery slope, as you walk a fine line between convenience and intrusion. Using a voice command almost always means the device needs to be constantly listening, leaving your private information vulnerable to whoever is listening. Remember, always take precautions securing your personal information while using devices when you go online.
2. Amazon Cloud Cam
This Amazon product focuses on the security of the home. While Alexa helps with a lot of various tasks, the Cloud Cam focuses its attention on keeping the house safe from potential danger. The Cloud Cam is the new age’s answer to home security cameras. In the past, you just turned the camera on, and it recorded footage — this advanced camera does so much more than that.
One of the unique and exciting features of the Cloud Cam is the ability to tap into the feed from virtually anywhere. You can use a companion app that comes with the Amazon Cloud Cam to keep track of footage and even remotely control doors. While this security feature is ideal for protection, potential dangers still exist with using this technology.
Though the Echo doesn’t look like it’s easily hackable, the Cloud Cam tells a different story. Reportedly, the Cam’s Key feature that allows delivery drivers to enter the home without setting off alarms is hackable. If someone were to hack the Key camera, they could disable the camera and the owner would be none the wiser.
Expect Amazon to modify this in the future, but be wary of using the Key feature of the Cloud Cam.
3. Ecobee 4
All the attention on smart devices tends to focus on items that communicate with computers. Devices such as Alexa can order products and obtain information, but intelligent devices exist all around you. They help in a lot of areas you may not think about.
For instance, the Ecobee 4 is a thermostat. Just like any other thermostat, it maintains the temperature of your home — but it does so much more than that. You can do things such as order groceries and voice search using Alexa. Outside of its functionality, how secure is this device?
Like all devices that connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, there’s always a chance you could get hacked. But, why would someone hack a smart thermostat? If the thermostat is hacked, the criminals can obtain temperatures in every room throughout the house. Essentially, they can learn your routines. This is a scary thought when a potential break-in could happen based on your movements and routines. However, it’s important to note that if you limit your access to who can use the thermostat, then you’re probably fine.
Buy if You Feel Comfortable
As an increasing number of smart devices are purchased for homes, cybersecurity is becoming more essential every day. To prevent cybersecurity issues with these products, do your research on products that are new in the market before you purchase them. Numerous sites review these types of products and give updates on everything from the latest news in technology to their security features.