Smart home alone: How to help protect your smart home while you’re away

Authored by a Symantec employee


Heading home for the holidays used to be a mixed blessing, pitting excitement about seeing your relatives against concerns about leaving your home unattended. Now that programmable devices have turned our houses into smart homes, the worry of an unoccupied house any time of the year is less of an issue. Read on for tips about leaving your smart home alone.

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Smart home protection for the holidays

Start with a solid foundation for your away game plan. This means making sure your smart home has protection while you’re gone. Although your programmed smart devices might keep burglars like the ones in Home Alone away, your connected home could still be attacked by hackers.

One way to help protect your smart home is to use a secure Wi-Fi router, like Norton CoreTM. Because Internet of Things (IoT) devices don’t often have robust security solutions, it’s usually up to the smart home owner to put additional safeguards in place. Norton Core, combined with a Norton Core Security Plus subscription, makes it possible to help defend an unlimited number of your connected devices on your home network by stopping cyber-attacks at the network level. If you’re wondering if all this cyber security is necessary, here’s a fact: Symantec researchers found that such attempts to attack an average IoT device in 2016 occurred once every two minutes during peak activity.1

How to make your empty smart home look lived in

When going out of town for a vacation, some people take the routine precautions of leaving an interior light on and stopping mail delivery so would-be burglars may not suspect the house is empty. While offline tips and tricks to make your empty house look occupied still hold true, your IoT gadgets — smart light bulbs, Web-connected security cameras and smart thermostats — can help you keep tabs on your home from afar and even make it seem as if your house is occupied.

  1. Set up connected security cameras inside and out to monitor your home for any unusual activity, and have alerts sent to your smartphone.
  2. Program smart lights to come on in different rooms at specific times of the day to mimic your typical at-home routine.
  3. If your TV is visible from outside, schedule your TV to go on for an hour or two every evening.
  4. Install a smart lock on your front door if the cat sitter or cleaners will need access while you’re away. Continuing these types of services will also help with the illusion that somebody is home.

Coming home to a smart house

Having a home full of IoT devices can also make coming home that much sweeter after a trip. Here are a few tips to make your smart home more welcoming.

  1. Adjust your smart thermostat an hour before you’re set to return home. Warm up or cool down your house to a comfortable temperature.
  2. Program your smart vacuum to take a spin through your house to suck up those dust bunnies before you get home.
  3. Activate the porch and entry lights to illuminate your way when you arrive.
  4. If you’re getting home in the morning after a red-eye flight, set your automatic coffeemaker to have a hot cup of coffee waiting for you.
  5. Turn on your hot water heater so you’ll be ready for a refreshing hot shower to ease your travel fatigue. You’ll also be able to throw your travel laundry in the washing machine immediately instead of waiting.

If you have a smart home and are planning a vacation, be sure to put all your IoT devices to work when you leave your smart home alone.


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Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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