by Jamie Ross, Marketing & Communications Manager, Wedgwood Insurance —
Smart devices, from voice-activated assistants to smart bulbs and thermostats, are increasingly prevalent in our homes. While these devices offer convenience and more control over your home, they can leave you at risk for privacy and security issues.
Before you invest in the latest smart oven or dishwasher, learn how the connectivity of these devices may be harmful — and what you can do to reduce the risks.
Hackers in your Home
Like it or not, every smart device can be used remotely. You can also set up automation, such as turning on lights at a particular time or changing your home’s temperature during specific hours. But it’s important to remember that everything connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked. If hackers gain access to your network, they can do anything from turning on your smart oven to unlocking your doors.
Maintain good network security by using a complex Wi-Fi password and keeping it private. Also, review and carefully manage the permissions of your apps and devices regularly. If remote control access is unnecessary or can be disconnected from the internet, you should leave it disconnected.
Voice assistants allow you to make easy purchases from Amazon, the Google Play store, and other retailers. But if your children figure this out or your device gets hacked, you may end up with more packages arriving at your door — and higher credit card bills.
You should disable voice purchases to prevent others from ordering items through your assistant. Instead, order through an app or website. You can also allow purchases through PIN activation only and keep your PIN private.
Just as hackers can get control of devices, they can access any information associated with those devices. Suppose you have saved credit card information or passwords with Google or Amazon accounts. In that case, they may get that information by hacking your intelligent devices. Again, maintaining internet security is vital with smart devices.
If your Wi-Fi goes out, you still need to be able to control lights, door locks, and other smart devices you use each day. Ensure that all your purchased smart devices can be operated without Wi-Fi to avoid a complete shutdown.
Smart Devices and Your Home Insurance
Installing smart technology in your home may result in a lower insurance rate. This is because having smart products helps reduce the dangers of theft and water damage. If you limit the likelihood of these occurrences, you reduce your chances of filing a claim. As a result, the premium could be reduced.
Unfortunately, not all smart technology will help to reduce your risk. Smart TVs and Google Home do not affect your premium. Depending on their intended use, only specific products and technologies will contribute to risk reduction.
How to Stay Safe with Smart Devices
You can minimize security and privacy risks by staying on top of your smart devices. Remember to:
- Continually update your devices and apps
- Choose the right apps and devices by following manufacturer recommendations
- Customize and carefully control permissions for all your devices
- Purchase identity theft protection to protect against hackers
- Use a complex password and two-factor authentication (such as passwords and PINs) whenever possible
- Use remote features instead of voice activation to maintain control
More and more homes are acquiring smart devices. As technologies continue improving and integrating into homes, these simple steps can help lessen your home security vulnerability and concerns. You can still use smart devices in your home if you stay smart.
For more information, please contact Wedgwood.
About the Author
Jamie Ross is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Wedgwood Insurance and The Magnes Group, two of Canada’s leading independent insurance brokers. After too many years working with some of Canada’s most respected ad agencies, Jamie found his way to insurance in 2017 and has never looked back.
A member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada Technology Committee, Jamie continually strives to drive growth and build success through strategic marketing and communications.
You can get in contact with Jamie on LinkedIn.
About Wedgwood Insurance
With offices in St. John’s & Corner Brook, Wedgwood Insurance is Newfoundland & Labrador’s most trusted insurance broker, providing straightforward personal and commercial insurance advice. As a broker, we represent most of Canada’s largest and most stable insurance companies. Combined with our in-house risk reduction expertise, we are the brokerage of choice for thousands of Canadian businesses and individuals. We are proud to be partners of Assurex Global, an exclusive network of the most prominent independent agents and brokers in the world. Our local expertise and global reach allow us to offer insurance solutions, individually designed to meet each customer’s precise needs. This gives our clients confidence that they receive the very best insurance advice and coverage. For more information, visit wedgwoodinsurance.com.
Source: Wedgwood Insurance