A First Foundation Blog

Being Smart with Smart Homes

This past holiday season, one of the most popular gifts was a Smart Assistant, mostly in the form of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home device sets have reported record sales leading up to the holidays. There is a good chance you already have one of these solutions installed in your home – more than 1 in 5 US households were using smart devices even before the holidays rolled around.

The age-old “Did I leave the garage door open?” source of stress can now be solved in an instant, but adding internet connectivity to things like your garage door, lights, locks, and doorbells can make it easier for hackers to gain access to your home network.

Here are some tips to protect your smart home (or smart home in-progress) that can help you enjoy the new conveniences without increasing your risk of being hacked:

Use strong passwords

Use at least 10 characters or more, including letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and special characters. Avoid using words you would find in the dictionary, and be sure to avoid using personal information such as birthday, phone number, pet names, or family member names.

Change the manufacturer default password on your home router

All routers have a default password that should be changed to a strong password, since the default password is common across all devices and easy for anyone to look up. Instructions to change the default password should be available on your router manufacturer’s website. Be sure to check other devices connecting to your home network for default passwords and change those too.

Update your devices

All of the phones, tablets, and any other connected devices in your home require software and/or firmware updates to remain as secure as possible.

Use antivirus software

This one is just a reminder, as you are more than likely familiar with antivirus software and the protection it provides, but one that cannot be emphasized enough.

Be aware of connected devices that don't have settings you can control

Read the user guide to ensure the device is only connected to receive updates, or consider disconnecting it altogether if the connectivity doesn’t have much benefit.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your smart home secure and functional. Stay safe out there!


Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by First Foundation Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from First Foundation Advisors. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. First Foundation Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the First Foundation Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request. Please Note: First Foundation Advisors does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to First Foundation Advisors’ web site or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility therefore. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
About the Author
Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
New call-to-action