Protecting your smart home from hackers - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Protecting your smart home from hackers

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CANFIELD, Ohio -

More and more Americans are embracing home automation. Smart home devices were among the most popular gifts this past holiday season. 

So how do you keep your smart home devices from giving hackers a key to your home?

Alexa by Amazon is a device Sam in Canfield likes for the security and convenience it provides. Sam activates Alexa with simple voice commands.

"Alexa turn on the living room lights,  Alexa turn on the television," and Alexa responds with 'OK.' 

Sam also has installed outdoor security camera's with lights, and a ring doorbell system, all of which he can monitor on his TV or his smartphone.

 "I can see what's there, see what they're doing, see when packages are delivered.  I know what's going on around my house at all times," said Sam.

By adding sensors, Alexa can control most everything.  "Because everything works so well together, why wouldn't I make my home secure," Sam said.

With all those signals flying around, what is the risk of being hacked?  David Stanley from Cyber Express in Boardman said, "The hackers always have the upper hand."

Stanley says there are steps you can take to avoid or reduce the risk of hackers, and as always it begins with passwords.

'Extremely complex passwords for your Wi-Fi, something crazy so no one knows who's house it is or where it is," said Stanley.

Segregate networks is another tip.

'Split up your Wi-Fi. Don't have a guest network, turn that off split up your Wi-Fi between your home computer and your smart home stuff," Stanley said. 

Stanley also suggests that It's a good idea to upgrade your router.

"That will give you that option to segregate the networks. That's what you want to do."

Also, don't ignore manufacturers updates, always update.

"Make sure its one of the name brand manufacturers out there because they're not going to let their reputation get tarnished by a malware or hack intrusion," according to Stanley.

More than 22 million smart homes have already been connected and Alexa, Google Home and soon Apple, that number is expected to hit 73 million by 2021. Stanley says even as technology advances hackers will always be a threat.  

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