Is Your Smart Home CyberSecure?
In support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) have partnered to create a Smart Home Checklist that offers guidance to help homebuyers, renters and sellers manage the privacy and security of their smart homes and devices.
Today’s homes are being built and retrofitted with smart apps and devices to monitor things like security, temperature and lighting. Homeowners and renters should be cognizant that these devices may be collecting personal information, or have unpatched vulnerabilities or passwords set by previous homeowners, vendors or maintenance personnel. As evidenced by some of the largest data breaches, access through one device can compromise an entire network. While homebuyers are increasingly embracing an “always on” lifestyle, they may not be aware of the potential privacy or security risks.
“As smart technology becomes more prevalent in our homes, it’s important that we all take precautions to protect our data and privacy,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. “The Online Trust Alliance’s Smart Home Checklist takes a common-sense approach to protecting sensitive information and offers sound advice for anyone who uses smart technology in their day-to-day lives.”
“Although we enjoy the benefits of a connected lifestyle, we must not lose sight of the risks a smart home may pose to our privacy and physical safety. As evidenced by some privacy practices and recent vulnerabilities with smart cars, TVs and baby monitors, consumers need to be aware of and manage smart devices in their homes,” says Craig Spiezle, President and Executive Director of the Online Trust Alliance. “Following these recommendations will help consumers better protect their privacy and identity and prevent their personal data from falling into the hands of cybercriminals and being sold to the highest bidder.”
Not unlike turning over all keys and remote controls, the homebuyer and renter should ensure that the seller, previous tenants and unauthorized third parties no longer have access to the home’s or apartment’s critical systems and devices.
Recently the OTA released a draft of its Internet of Things (IoT) Trust Framework, providing guidance to device manufacturers, retailers and application developers to address the top security, privacy and sustainability risks for connected devices, smart homes and wearable technologies. The Framework is the result of input from industry, government and non-profits including NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology.
The Center for REALTOR® Technology, NAR’s Technology Research & Development group, is leading the IoT initiatives for NAR. Aside from educating its membership, CRT is also working closely with universities, vendors, NGOs and government agencies in the name of homeownership and the role of NAR’s 1.1 million members in improving quality of life for homeowners using IoT devices.