How to make your home smarter

Start enjoying the benefits of smart appliances without refitting your whole house – while still protecting your data and privacy.

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David P.
23 Apr 2022
What if Updates stop?

A common complaint is that manufacturers stop updating 'Smart' devices quite quickly. Maybe Consumer should check into this - TV's are a particular problem.

Russell F.
03 May 2022
The security and update issues are serious

Speaking as one who that been involved in IT security for getting on to 30 years I have very serious reservations about so called smart homes. There are a multitude of issues, but the fundamental one is that none of the currently available products were designed with security in mind. A point to ponder: hardly a month goes by without a notification of yet another manufacturer of medical devices with gaping security holes. These are things like insulin pumps, cardio pacemakers though to software that controls major systems in hospitals.

Previous poster (whose name is hidden under this form) is right to raise the issue of updates. Many consumer products have no means of updating if problems are found and even if there is a means of updating *and* updates were available how would you know?

I am not saying that one should never use "smart" appliances (my two heat pumps are connected to my wifi network) but my TV isn't. Instead i use an Apple TV that i know receives regular update from Apple (a point made in the main article). I would not consider using any of the commercially available home security systems to control door lock but i am considering swapping my current garage door opener for one that will close the door if it is open more then 15 minutes and will allow me to check if it is closed without actually looking at it. This is an example of security trade offs. I am trading the problems of physical security of the garage door against the possibilities of attack via the network. I have had at least 3 incidents in the last year when the door was accidentally left open or failed to close because some thing had been dropped on the floor where the door closes causing it to retract fully.

The important thing in deciding about installing smart devices is to consider what could go wrong and decide if the benefits outweigh the risks. This is the fundamental of all security decisions in any field.