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Safety and Security for your Lowcountry Home

Wednesday, May 5, 2021   /   by Sonya Reiselt

Safety and Security for your Lowcountry Home

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There’s no denying that smart homes and new constructions that come fully equipped with the latest technology are more and more becoming the norm in the housing market and the Lowcountry is no exception to this.  While these features will give just about any homeowner piece-of-mind, there are also safety issues that should always be well-thought-out and understood when any new technology is put in place within your home. 

Make sure to always follow these steps when dealing with the technology throughout your home and your family’s everyday life:

Personal Wi-Fi and Routers – Since just about everything that has to do with technology in your home will go directly through your family’s personal Wi-Fi, it’s important to start here when it comes to ensuring your home is safe and secure

  • ·    After you change the password, make sure the router is password protected.  You should NEVER have a router in your home that is public.  Doing so would allow anyone to access, and use, your family’s private information. 
  • ·    Give everything that is connected to your network a name.  This way you’ll be able to quickly identify everything that’s connected to your network, easily being able to identify if something is connected that doesn’t belong.  This is the best way to quickly identify if there are hackers connected. 

Outdoor Security Systems and Smart Doorbells – If you don’t have a smart doorbell or a security system, they’re worth considering!  Not only will they add piece-of-mind to your family but they’ll also automatically connect you to authorities if someone is on your property who shouldn’t be there. 

  • ·    When you set these devices up, make sure to immediately double-check that they are only connected through your family’s personal, password-protected, network. 
  • ·    Smart doorbells have to be mounted onto your home.  Take the time to properly do this to ensure that it will stay on and can’t be taken off and stolen.  Allowing illegal activity to happen that goes unnoticed. 
  • ·    Once security systems begin running, they often automatically keep old recordings.  Make sure to routinely delete old footage so there is less material of your family and home that could ultimately be stolen and posted elsewhere. 
  • ·    Always keep the devices and their apps up to date.  If there are new protections put in place by the manufacturers of these devices, they will likely only be updated and installed through manual updates. 
  • ·    While it might be a common occurrence on social media these days, fight the urge to post anything from your doorbell or security cameras on your personal pages.  Once your home is on the internet, it can draw attention to both hackers and intruders, who can shockingly get quite a bit of information off of a simple picture.

Wi-Fi Connected Baby Monitors – More and more, these have become more common for parents to trust in.  if you’re choosing to go the route of a Wi-Fi monitor, whether it be for convenience or comfort, it’s important to know that this also has to be secured to prevent being hacked.  

  • ·    Did you know that most Wi-Fi monitors don’t come password protected?  Installing this feature should be the first step you take when setting your baby monitor up.  Make sure it is unique and hard to guess!  This is especially important because, as the popularity of these monitors continues to increase, so does the appeal and accessibility to hack them. 
  • ·     Whenever you’re able, turn off the remote access feature.  While it can serve as a convenient feature, it’s important to remember that, when turned on, people can hack into the monitor from just about anywhere, instead of restricting access to inside your home. 
  • ·    Make sure any default setting is personalized to your family. 
  • ·    Regularly check the sign-in logs for unusual or unwanted activity.  Also, make sure you change the port that is used to access the camera when accessing the monitor on your phone.  The default number for this is typically 80, which is a common number that most hackers will begin with.  If you’re able, set it to a much higher number.  
  • Voice Assistants – Just about everyone uses their own voice assistant these days and you’d be hard-pressed to find a modern home without one.  With the convenience and dependability that comes with these devices, it’s important to remember that they are listening to everything you say. 
  • ·    Before you use your voice assistant, make sure you are confident with all of the settings and how to control it.  It’s also important to keep it up to date to ensure all of the latest security protections are in place. 
  • ·    Always, always, always, read the fine print.  Oftentimes, it is hidden in the privacy policy agreement that employees are authorized to listen in when these devices are turned on for research purposes.  Make sure you have a device in which you are comfortable with the regulations!
  • ·    When you aren’t planning on using your assistant, have it turned off!  Even when it’s muted, it is always listening in to everything you say and all sounds that are being made, collecting information to further assist you.  You can also turn the microphone off completely if you’re only utilizing it for instructional and informational reasons. 

Computers – Whether you have a family desktop, or you all use laptops, make sure every computer in your home is well-protected.

  • ·    The firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spy software serve as the bones of your computers and they should be treated as such!  Make sure you always have the latest, most up-to-date versions of these in order to ensure that your devices are thoroughly protected.  
  • ·    Have a different password for each computer in the family.  On the off chance that you do get hacked, this protects your computers from all being compromised.  Also, although it might pose an inconvenience, don’t save your passwords to websites directly onto your computers. 
  • ·    If you’re getting rid of an old computer, make sure it is completely wiped of all information and set back to factory mode before you properly dispose of it. 
  • ·    Make sure all of the cameras and microphones are turned off or covered whenever you’re not using them. 
  • ·    If you have children, make sure that any computer they are on has restrictions put into place in order to keep their browsing safe and secure. 

    Smart homes will continue to be the future and aren’t looking to go away anytime soon.  While it might take some time to get everything properly installed and in place, the convenience and safety measures these devices offer will keep your family’s everyday life functioning better than ever!
     

Make sure to keep up to date on the real estate market, homeowner tips and community events and information on our website, and follow us on Facebook for all of the latest on keeping your Lowcountry home up-to-date!


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