A Ghost in the Machine? – Smart Homes and Cyber Security

Which place is the safest and most comfortable for you in the entire world? I am guessing it would be your home because;

“Home is where the heart is”

It is where you feel secure and protected from the world’s harm. But with the world becoming digital, you might not even be safe in your own house. Our homes have smart devices which make our lives easier but also put us a great threat.

Sometimes our devices show glitches that might indicate a security breach. To help you stay safe and protected, we have created this guide on smart homes and cyber security. Read until the end to find the solution to the machine ghosts and protect yourself!

The Basics of a Smart Home

In 2021, it was found that 41.9% of American houses were using smart home devices. This data is expected to be 48.4% by 2025. These homes are connected to the internet through the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT (Internet of Things).

With the help of these systems, you can take control of your appliances through your smart devices. For example, you can use your voice commands to turn on the lights, control the temperature, start a coffee machine, or control the plumbing.

Many smart homes also have EV charging points. These are used to power electric vehicles. Like other technologies, EV chargers connect to the internet directly through a device or router.

This makes it vulnerable to cyber threats. Also, some charging points are poorly manufactured, allowing hackers an easy doorway.

Am I Under the Cyber Threat?

If you’re reading this, you might have some smart home devices.

Therefore, you might be wondering if my smart light bulbs don’t have location trackers or cameras, then how am I at threat of cyber security? To grasp this concept, let’s understand what makes a smart home vulnerable to cyber-attacks!

We mentioned earlier that many smart home devices and EV charges are connected to the internet. Since the internet is a digital world, anyone can hack it. But why would someone hack your smart home devices? Well, a lot of your personal information can be gained through this.

For example, your location, financial data, schedules, and day-to-day routine can be compromised.
This information is enough for hackers to steal your data or money from your bank accounts.

Therefore, it is important to educate yourself about these threats. It is also essential to protect yourself from these dangers by taking protective measures.

What is a Ghost in the Machine

Whenever we think about ghosts, the light glitches and malfunctioning of devices come to our minds. The truth is, it can happen in reality. However, in these cases, it’s mostly the ghost in your machines! This happens when your smart home devices malfunction without any warning or explanation.

The glitches and malfunction of the system might be a sign of a ghost in your machine. Some examples include the unusual working of a smart bulb, unauthorized opening of the digital locks, or charging your electric vehicle phenomenally.

In most cases, it can be a glitch in the system. But there is a possibility that ghosts in your machines are a sign of a security breach. If you are experiencing this, you must look closer to determine the real cause. Here are some steps to identify whether a smart home device has been compromised:

Analyze the Unusual Behavior 

As we mentioned earlier, smart home devices can act weird sometimes. In this scenario, it is important to analyze this behavior. To do this, you can check the activity log to analyze this unusual behavior.

In most cases, you will find the login attempts, change to the setting, and any other activity here. Verify if there was an unknown login attempt or change to the system.

Check the Traffic of Your Network

You can also use a network monitoring tool to check for unusual activity. SolarWinds Network, Atera, and GlassWire are some tools that will help you here. Look for traffic to unfamiliar IP addresses as hackers must connect to your internet to compromise the device.

Change the Password

Whether you found an unusual activity or not, change your passwords immediately. Ensure it’s a strong and unique password not used on your other account. Include these details in your password s that it’s not easy to guess:

  • Uppercase letters
  • Lowercase letters
  • Symbols
  • Mathematical Numbers

You can use the unique password generators on the internet or generate a new password yourself.

Update the Device

Update your device, as the glitches might have occurred in the system due to its old version.
Also, the old versions of the software allow hackers to hack easily. To update the smart home device, check the website of the manufacturer.

Most of these devices come with a manual, so use it to update your device to the latest software version.

Contact the Manufacturer

After following all of the methods, if you are still concerned about security, then contact the manufacturer. You can find the contact details on the website of the manufacturer. They will assist you in securing the device or preventing security breaches in the future.

How to Secure Your Smart Home?

Many people don’t believe they will ever become a victim of cyber security, but the truth is, IT’S HAPPENING! Many tech companies advise consumers to be careful. Mark Zuckerberg was seen using a laptop with a covered camera.

This means that even tech gurus are afraid of cyber issues. Returning to the topic, you can take different steps to protect your home from cyber issues.

Here are some tips to become more secure:

Secure the Network

This is a crucial step because any weakness in your network will make the hacker’s job easy.
The first step that you should take is to change the default settings. When we purchase an internet router, it usually comes with a default password and username.

This data can be accessed easily by hackers, Therefore, change these default settings as soon as you can. While changing the password, make sure to use strong and unique passwords.

Two-Factor Authentication 

This step provides an additional layer of security to your devices. If you have used two-factor authentication on your social media accounts, it would be easy. Unfortunately, some devices don’t come with this option. But if you have one, use it! Another tip is to use an authenticator app for this process, as SMS can be intercepted easily.

Don’t Give Access to Strangers

We kept this till the last because it is THE MOST IMPORTANT tip. You must never give access to your smart home to any stranger. Do not give this access to anyone other than those living in the house. You should never trust strangers or even your ‘new’ friends for this.


To summarize, living in the digital world is comfortable and easy. But it comes with its share of problems. If you find a ghost in your machine, determine whether it is a security breach or a system error. If it is a security breach, take the necessary steps to protect your data.

To prevent these situations from happening, update your software and passwords regularly. Also, secure your network and devices using two-factor authentication.

Stay Safe!

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