Small home setups seem to get easier every year as the technology that powers smart devices improves. Unfortunately, problems still arise, as the following examples show.

It was a light bulb

In 2009, Raul Rojas became one of the first in Germany to manage a smart home. Almost everything in a computer science professor’s house can be turned on and off from afar, including lights, music, TV, and the heating/cooling system.

In fact, Rojas even had robots. that vacuumed, patrolled the house and mowed the grass.

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Four years after Rojas opened his smart home to local media, the entire house went offline as appliances stopped working, the heating system failed, and these robots stopped in place.

Cause? The lamp burned out, causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. .

As Rojas told Fusion, «It was a classic denial of service attack.» Light conducted a DoS attack on a smart home to say «Change me.»

Our recommendation : Don’t replace everything in your home with smart products. Of those smart products you have, make sure you are always running the latest firmware. Most firmware updates happen through app updates on iOS and Android.

All about security

As cybercrime grows, biometrics two-factor authentication two-factor authentication and single sign-on has become a standard security procedure for many. Unfortunately, it was not so long ago that some smart devices were equipped with a very stupid feature — no password was required.

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Back in 2013, a Forbes reporter discovered that her Insteon-connected home system could remotely control devices in many of her neighbor’s homes. Issue: Although «highly recommended» in the owner’s manual, older Insteon systems did not require users to add a username and password to add remote access. Because of this, unsecured systems were available to anyone who was nearby and who owned a similar system.

Insteon now requires secure login for all of the company’s smart products.

Our recommendation : Most current generation smart devices require authentication. For added peace of mind, change logins on a regular basis. The smoke detector batteries should be replaced at the beginning and end of daylight saving time. Change the security settings on your smart devices at the same time.

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The Nest thermostat was one of the world’s first smart home devices. when it launched in 2011. The device became so popular that Nest Labs, the company behind it, was acquired by Google in 2015. Unlike traditional thermostats, the Wi-Fi-enabled Nest uses built-in sensors and smartphone tracking to adjust heating and cooling based on who’s home.

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In early January, Nest owners woke up to find that their favorite smart device had suddenly shut down, leaving millions of users out in the cold. As Google later acknowledged, a software bug caused the device’s battery to drain. A software update fixed the problem.

As The New York Times reported at the time, “But it’s not just about the nest. This points to a big problem with the so-called smart devices we invite into our lives: small glitches can cause huge problems.”

Our recommendation A: No matter how smart they are, smart devices still need power to work. Have a backup plan in case the power goes out, no matter the reason. Again, don’t rely solely on smart devices.

Humans tend to make mistakes

Wink offers software and hardware products that connect to and control smart home devices. In April 2015, one in four Wink users reported problems with their smart devices connected to Wink Hub. As Wired noted, their devices were «suddenly lobotomized».

The culprit was not a DoS attack or an authentication issue. It wasn’t even a software error. Instead, a «misconfiguration» of the security controls that Wink had previously enforced resulted in a shutdown.

In other words, it was human error.

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Smart devices rely on people to work properly, both those who use gadgets in their homes and those who control technology outside. In Wink’s case, they admitted their mistake and fixed the problem, as you would expect from any company.

Outcome : expect something to go wrong with your smart device. When a problem does arise, see how the company behind the product reacts. Did they solve the problem quickly and professionally or did they not react? The way they respond says a lot about the company and its products.

Other Smart Times Products Might Fail

The iPhone remains the most popular smartphone in the world, almost 10 years after Apple announced the first model in January 2007. Despite the iPhone’s longevity, software glitches still happen, as they do with all smart devices. Below are some other ways that your smart device can fail and what you should do when such issues occur.

Your device is offline . Smart devices are smart for one main reason: they connect to the Internet. When this connection goes down, your device can become an expensive paperweight.

At these moments, restart your device. Better yet, reset the Wi-Fi connection in your home. In most cases, either of these reboots will bring your device back online.

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Pairing issues . When you buy a new smart device, you will be prompted to pair it with your smartphone. Keep these directions handy. For some reason, these pairs sometimes disappear, requiring a reset.

Synchronization When your smart device is working properly, the data is automatically synced to your smartphone. When the sync stops, restart your phone first and see if the issue is resolved. If not, restart your device too. Nothing yet? Reboot both devices at the same time.

Something else Smart devices don’t need rest time like humans do. However, some issues can be resolved simply by turning off the devices for a short time.

Smart devices are great—until they stop working. It is important to anticipate possible problems and know what to do when they arise.

Have you ever experienced any smart device «failing»? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!

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