Smart homes raise security concerns

Updated: 04/03/2014 2:00 AM
Created: 04/03/2014 12:01 AM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams

You already know about smart phones and smart televisions. Now, there are even smart homes.

Using the Internet, you can tell your home just what you want it to do through home automation systems.

All it takes is a voice command or the push of a button.

But could these Internet-based systems put you at risk?

That's what News10NBC asked a computing security professor at RIT, and here's what we learned.

“If you come into the room, it can automatically detect who you are. It can dim the lights, turn on the TV for you, and turn on the music, even a certain radio station for you,” said RIT Assistant Professor Dr. Tom Oh.

Dr. Tom Oh teaches computing security at RIT. He's describing the features you'll find on any number of the new home automation systems, systems that operate your home with just the push of a button or a voice command.

He says while they offer convenience, they can also offer another avenue through the Internet for thieves to get into your home, or even your personal information.

So how can you protect yourself?

For starters, make sure your Wi-Fi is password protected.

“You can hack it in less than a minute, so it’s very critical to install the security that's more secure. In this case, it's WPA2, and make sure the user name and password are not simple, more than '1234.'”

Here's another concern. Say you’re at a coffee shop and you want to check to make sure you turned off the lights or turned your alarm on, so you pull out your smart phone and log into your account. Dr. Oh says that’s not a good idea.

'That's another way of hacking into the mobile phone, and they can access every bit of your private information, also video monitoring systems,” Dr. Oh said. “They can see who's at home. If nobody's home, they can come in the back door and steal everything within the home."

Dr. Oh says check your account at work, avoid public Wi-Fi. In fact, if you’re not using your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth device, turn them both off on your phone.

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