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 home buyers are increasingly embracing an “always on” lifestyle, they may not be aware of the potential privacy or security risks.
Not unlike turning over all keys and remote controls, the home buyer 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.
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 home buyers, renters and sellers manage the privacy and security of their smart homes and devices.
“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,” said 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.”