With all of the news stories recently about hacks of smart home devices (like wireless cameras & doorbells) in order to utilize them like a robot army [June 2016, Oct 2016, March 2017], we’ve been fielding questions from our clients lately about home security and how IoT devices can be deployed safely. Even the FTC has issued a challenge to award a $25K prize for creating a tool that addresses vulnerabilities caused by out-of-date software in IoT devices. With hackers finding ways to sneak into our lives via Nest cameras, Rings, pet cams and more each day, what is the best way to protect yourself and your data whether you’re “safe” at home or away?
Some companies are rushing to bring streamlined, stripped-down versions of firewalls to market in enclosures with an eye towards aesthetic design and marketing language incorporating all of the latest popular smart home gadgets.
Cujo and other “smart home protection” products by new manufacturers, one-off’s, or first-to-market companies are not recommended because the device is first in the chain of all data going into and out of your home network. This means it is potentially reporting all of your data back to their servers which may or may not be in the U.S. This company is taking its time to bring to market what could be a great product (according to trusted experts in the field), but are ensuring it works well before releasing.
The bottom line, as Harry Shearer illustrates frequently in “News of Smart Homes” (a segment on his radio program LeShow), is that there are simply too many devices made by unknown parties that we’re connecting to our WiFi networks.
No matter which way you cut it, the best and most reliable way to keep your data and network secure is to hard wire everything and don’t put any devices you don’t absolutely trust on your WiFi network. Keeping complex WiFi, router, and device passwords is a must for anything connecting to your network – and never leave the default password set.