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Are smart home devices secure?

Pyng Lighting Control by Crestron

You’ve seen the headlines: "Suddenly hot smart home devices are ripe for hacking." "Hacker digitally invades home." "Your smart home devices might be smart but are they secure?"

In recent years, there has been an explosion in the popularity of smart home products. Simultaneously, there has been a rise in the hacking of these home devices, also known as “Internet of Things” devices (IoT devices).

IoT for the uninitiated include smart home internet connected devices like cams, door locks, light switches, dimmers, and thermostats that can make life easier for homeowners. Hacking risks range from relatively harmless (cranking up the lights for example), to completely criminal (disabling security cameras to facilitate a break-in). In fact, any amateur hacker can search, an internet of things search engine, and start entering default username and passwords, hijacking random devices and invading the homeowner's privacy. One of the biggest dangers of an unsecured smart-home device is that they are being used as a "backdoor" to gain access to more sensitive information.

Unless you are facing a pro hacker, the passwords and firewalls you have added to your smart home device are going to be your first line of defense. That brings us to the one thing all the headlines above have in common: homeowners have failed to change the default password. Changing default passwords on the IoT device is just one line of defense, other basic steps include changing your home Wi-Fi network’s default password, changing your router’s default password and ensuring your wireless router has some sort of encryption.

In addition to the measures you can take with DIY smart home devices, there are professional product options through home control experts that greatly reduce any possibility of being hacked. Crestron, one of the world's marquee companies in home control products, produces these products and makes security their highest priority. "Everything we build is designed to resist being hacked, and all of our products are set to meet the highest requirements,” says Delia Hansen, Crestron's senior residential marketing manager. "A large portion of our products goes into government installations such as the Pentagon, and most of the competition can't even bid on the jobs we win because of the level of encryption. We don't have a different set of products for government and home. Builders and homebuyers are getting government-grade technology for the home." Technically speaking this is how it works: “Our subnet protocol is a partition built into the firewall that separates you from the network. It allows everything in the Crestron system to run on its own network, completely separate from the internet and home networks, completely isolated from the outside world. That’s the only way to 100 percent ensure you won’t be susceptible to hacking.” Along with the security benefits Crestron products provide, operating on its own network frees up the Wi-Fi in your home. In contrast, home owners with multiple DIY Wi-Fi internet connected devices will use up bandwidth which bogs the Wi-Fi system making it virtually impossible to browse the internet or stream TV and movies. Another advantage to a pro-product like Crestron involves having all your IoT devices controlled and operated from one app like Crestron's Pyng.

Professionally, we feel that home owners who are considering smart home devices should invest in products that provide a complete solution, guaranteeing a secure home, free of hacking dangers. Products like Crestron are fully engineered, highly reliable, easy to use, and provide the best security defenses. In addition to choosing great products, homeowners should also choose an experienced integrator thus ensuring that the smart home system works to its highest potential.

For more information or questions contact us at

Ambience is located in downtown Douglas, MI has been providing audio, video, and home control solutions to clients in Grand Haven, Holland, Grand Rapids, Saugatuck & Douglas for over 25 years. Ambience is also a Crestron Electronics dealer and integrator.

Recommended smart home product Crestron Pyng - PDF Brochure

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