How Many of Your Gadgets Can Actually Get a Virus?

I don’t see the allure of connecting every appliance (I don’t need to see the status of my microwave), but I do see the benefit of many of them.

These are our specific use-cases:

Smart thermostats – we can decrease energy use by creating routines for when we leave the house, and then return to our preferred temperature before we arrive back home. I can also set routines based on which rooms are occupied, time of day, time of year, etc.

Lighting (specifically, smart switches or entire fixtures) – i can create schedules for our outdoor/security lights so they turn on at the correct time at dusk/turn off at dawn, or run at other unique times. I can also use an adapter for seasonal lighting at the holidays to control ‘dumb’ strands of lights.

Smart locks – I can use them to grant access to guests/contractors/vendors, and verify that all the doors are locked if I forgot to check myself.

Security cameras – this should be pretty self explanatory…

Outlets – I can use my smart outlet to do a couple things. For one, it can tell me energy usage per plug. I can also set them to turn off/on at specific times for appliances that don’t have auto on/auto off functions. You can also use it to reduce parasitic energy draw from devices that are “off”, but not really off, without having to actually unplug them (Z-wave radios use very little power).

We also have a Z-wave sprinkler system controller with rain sensors. It customizes the weekly watering or plants and grass based on actual weather conditions, and soil moisture levels at the various zones we’ve placed the sensors. This allows us to save water while also being more convenient.

Not everyone needs these things though, so YMMV. However, just chalking ‘smart home’ tech to being lazy, well, is just lazy. I bet you use dozens of pieces of technology everyday that makes your day easier, and hence, makes you lazy by that logic.

Anything that runs firmware that can be updated remotely (and that’s absolutely everything these days, even those GE ‘smart’ bulbs with the very dumb reset) can theoretically get a virus. Is it likely that someone will be able to convince your IoT device that they’re Amazon, Google or Samsung? No, but its not impossible.

The danger with smart TVs isn’t so much a malicious app that would run in the foreground, it’s one that runs in the background, because if the TV connects to the Internet, there’s no reason that it couldn’t become a (small, underpowered) web server and become part of say, a botnet.

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