Will Your Smart Home Be Your Next House Sitter?

As I rush to catch a flight, I’ll often think in a panic, “Do I have my keys? Passport? Plane ticket?” Once I plop down in my seat, a terrifying visualization of everything else I may have forgotten flashes across my mind: “Did I turn the lights off in the main hallway?” “Did I set the alarms?” “Did I lower the temperature on the thermostat?” With all the moving parts involved in leaving for a vacation, I’ve started to rely on smart home devices to do some of the work for me.

Since we’ve begun to rely on smart devices more, however, the inherent convenience they provide for the home is sometimes met with headaches—including concerns around the risk of malware and phishing scams. These new intuitive devices are designed to help us perform everyday tasks with ease, but when not secured, they can become a hacker’s playground.

A previous blog went into detail about smart home appliance vulnerabilities, and how you can arm yourself with the proper tools to help you combat cybercriminals. To keep you in the know, I’ve compiled a list of smart devices to consider locking down.

  • Smart Home Security Cameras: Smart home security cameras can help monitor your home to make sure it’s safe and sound from unwanted visitors, but hackers have been known to prey on unprotected devices and turn them into spying tools.
  • Smart TVs: Smart TVs can recommend new shows for you to watch, but if not safeguarded, bad actors could utilize the video and audio functions of these devices to track your every move.
  • Smart Thermostats: Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home from your smartphone, but researchers have recently found that they can be used as bargaining tools when not locked down. “Want to turn the heat back on? Pay up!”
  • Smart Refrigerators: Although smart refrigerators remind you to get eggs and milk when you run out, an unprotected one in your home could expose the email account embedded into its integrated home calendar. Now that’s what I’d call interrupting your dinner plans.

So, what can you do to lock down all your smart home gadgets? To keep hackers away from your devices, install protection to combat the bad guys right from the source—your router.

With security based at the router level, you can have the best of both worlds. Router-based protection, like McAfee Secure Home Platform, provides an always-on solution that alerts you of emerging vulnerabilities, plus protection for connected devices. What’s more? If you’re away from home, you can manage your device connections through the mobile app. Now that’s something convenience-lovers will have a field day for.

Vacation is supposed to be a time for relaxation and quality time with your family. So before jetting off, make sure you know the ropes of securing your nest. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge, and make sure your home and devices are vacation-ready!

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