Today’s homes are being built and renovated “smarter” than ever—with technologies that make life more convenient and efficient, and help us feel safer. But, as happens with all connected devices, our “smarter” homes can also create entry points for criminals.
THE INTERNET OF THINGS
So many of the devices we use every day are digitally connected. Inside the home, these devices control everything from lighting, temperature, appliances and window shades, to garage doors, games, exercise equipment and audio-visual components. Outside, they control lighting, pool and spa systems, sprinkler systems and sound systems.
These devices are all part of the internet of things (IoT). The term describes the inter-networking of physical devices and vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings and other items. All are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity, which enable the collection and exchange of data.
The problem is that, even as IoT advances are made in technology, applications and data collection, the security safeguards needed to accompany those advances are lagging, and cyberattacks are becoming more common and more serious.
So, how do you keep your family safe? Be proactive in stopping cyberattacks before they start. Learn how to handle an attack as it happens. And know how to fix the situation and bounce back after the initial threat has passed.
- Start simply: Keep track of who has access to your systems. Use complex passwords and keep your passwords safe.
- If you purchased your home with the system, or if your contractor had access to the system for testing, consider resetting it to factory defaults to remove unknown user access.
- Consider conducting a cyber-security audit, using a cyber professional.
- The security audit used for prevention may uncover existing breaches that can be addressed before more damage is done.
- Have a plan. Do you know which professionals to contact? Do you know what data to preserve and what action(s) you should take immediately?
- Acquire a good cyber-insurance program.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Homeowners policies for the high net worth client have evolved beyond identity theft. These niche markets are now providing access to professionals who can audit systems, create plans for the family and assist in resolving any damage. As risk and insurance professionals, we know that your family’s security should be viewed with the same care as your asset protection.