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More of us are buying smart products for the home that connect to the internet, like personal smart assistants, fitness trackers, toys, and home security systems.
These devices can help to organise family life, give new insights into our health and wellbeing and monitor things in the home from a distance. But many of today’s smart products are rushed to market with little consideration for basic security and privacy protections. This means that someone with minimal hacking skills could spy on you, steal your personal information, or even communicate directly with people in your home. These products can also act as a gateway to other smart devices and gadgets in your home.
The Connect Smart tips, co-developed by Consumers International and Internet Society, will help you make informed choices about the technology you use in your daily lives. We want to see all consumers getting the best from digital without having to compromise on safety and security. See below to learn more and download the full guidelines in English, Spanish and French.
for potential security and privacy issues before buying. See if reviews or news articles have identified security or privacy issues. Check whether you can make your device more secure by changing the password and adjusting the privacy settings. Confirm if the device receives regular software updates so any security vulnerabilities can be fixed.
strong, unique passwords for each device. Generic default passwords can be easily identified and allow attackers to gain access. Set strong, unique passwords for each device, service and your home router. The longer the password the better; mix upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to increase the strength.
settings for maximum security and privacy. Many devices and services come with minimal security protection by default and collect significant amounts of important information about you - so change your settings for greater security and privacy. Also plan to reset your device regularly.
update software. If the device or app has an auto-update feature, turn it on. Find out how to check for software updates for each device and do it once a month. Most companies will release updates when they patch security vulnerabilities. Also accept updates for the apps on your mobile phone that control your device.
features you don't need and the device when not in use. Many features on your device can continue to monitor you even when you don’t expect or need them to. To avoid this, disable cameras, microphones, or location tracking apps when you are not actively using them.
We teamed up with Internet Society to create a 90-second video, bringing to life some of the security issues with smart devices in the home.
The video is part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with connected products that fail the build in basic privacy and security features during the design stage.
Video subtitles are also available in Spanish, French and Arabic - use the Youtube Settings cog to select your language.