Some sleuthing finally revealed the problem — the former owner’s new house was cold and he kept trying to get the heat to go on by turning up the temperature using the app on his phone. Unfortunately, it was still connected to his old thermostat in his old house.
As the Internet of Things finds itself into houses via connected devices, more and more homes contain hot new tech gadgets that can all too easily become unlocked digital backdoors.
From thermostats to garage door openers to keyless locks, “people can be vulnerable if they don’t reset these,” said Curry, managing director for technology at the National Association of Realtors.
“It could be something as simple as turning lights on and off and make them think their house is haunted. Or it could be something creepier, like watching through their cameras or locking or unlocking doors,” said Charles Henderson, global head of IBM X-Force Red. He spoke on the topic at the RSA computer security conference Friday in San Francisco.
Like many new technologies, companies have focused on getting their connected devices into stores and into customers’ homes without thinking through the downstream consequences.
“There wasn’t been much discussion of what happens when they sell that device or the house that contains that device,” Henderson said.
That’s how Curry came to work on a project with the Online Trust Alliance to create a Smart Home Checklist for real estate agents. The list isn’t necessarily more user-friendly than the items themselves, however.
For example, one suggestion is that home buyers, “Review the configuration settings for remote access, encryption and update cycles and adjust where needed.”
What items within a home might have digital interfaces aren’t always obvious. For example, a house could be equipped with state-of-the-art light bulbs that link to a hub that allows the owner to use an app on their phone to control the lighting.
But there’s no way for a new homeowner to automatically know that. They might not realize that the small box tucked away in a corner allowed someone with the right app to control their lights — so they might not know to ask for information about how to disable or take it over.
“As smart as the light switch is, it’s not smart enough to know it’s been sold,” Henderson said.
The issue hasn’t really become part of the home-buying process. So far only 15% of clients ask their realtors about smart home technology in a house they’re looking at, a 2016 survey from the National Association of Realtors found.
While today even the most wired home seldom has more than a connected thermostat, lock and perhaps webcam, “at some point soon we’ll have 30 to 40 devices in our homes,” Curry said. “All of which will be vulnerable if people don’t reset them.”
If the new owner doesn’t get the original documentation for each device, they must find the name and version of each device, then look online to find the relevant documentation so they can know what’s necessary to reset the devices.
Realtors want to work with the burgeoning Internet of Things world to streamline and simplify this for customers.
State laws differ on what is considered a part of the home and therefore what must stay in a house when it is sold.
In most jurisdictions, fixtures stay with the home while non-fixtures don’t. A fixture is anything that’s affixed to the house. So a Next thermometer that’s installed in the wall is a fixture and stays put while a webcam or an Amazon Echo that sits on a shelf are not.
To be certain, ownership of connected devices in the phone should be added to an addendum to the sales contact so “what stays and what goes” is clearly laid out, Curry said.
Another issue is that many connected home devices require WiFi to work, which is often one of the first things the original homeowner removes when a house is readied to be shown and sold. So, the new owner can’t actually get access to the devices until they move in and install their own WiFi network.
As smartphones became popular, cell phone manufacturers eventually adopted the idea of an easy-to-do “factory reset” because so many users sold or passed on their phones, making it crucial for phone owners to be able to start afresh and protect their privacy.
The connected home device world hasn’t yet gotten to that point, said Henderson.
Curry says his dream would be for each home device to come with a simple user interface and an easy-to-access method for both resetting the user login ID and password that also completely wipes the device of all previously stored data.
Unfortunately, he said, “we’re not there yet.”
So if you have just bought a new home and there is an existing smart device running the home….make sure you reset it!
As Colorado’s best window dealer, and now the country’s top retailer of Infinity Windows from Marvin, Gravina’s Window Center of Littleton could not have accomplished this without all our loyal customers. Thank you! And to all our employees, thank you for your hard work and dedication. This demonstrates our dedication to installing the best quality windows at the absolute best value.
“All of us at Infinity Replacement Windows sincerely appreciate our relationship with you and your organization. As family-run businesses, we share the same vision of taking care of our customers, our employees, and our communities.
We wish Gravina’s Window Center of Littleton continued success in the coming year, and look forward to working with you to bring homeowners the very best window and door replacement experience.”
Gravina’s Window Center of Littleton has been the top dealer in Colorado year after year for Marvin Windows fiberglass replacement window, Infinity.
Congrats to Jim Gravina, and his entire team!
Phoenix, Arizona – Infinity from Marvin Executive Forum
According to a 2016 survey of cost versus value done by Remodeling Magazine, replacement windows in upscale homes have a 92% return on investment. If you’ve been considering replacement windows in your home, now might be a good time to take action. Not only will you enjoy energy savings, a beautiful new look and noise reduction while you live in your home, you may recover more than 90% of your investment when you resell your home. That’s something to think about.
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A Sweat Equity Project: Andersen Narroline Window Conversion Kits
For many homeowners, budgets are often the biggest challenge: they have castle dreams and a cottage budget.
Cutting corners is one option, or sometimes the homeowner is handy enough to take on some of the labor for tasks like demolition to build a little “sweat equity” into the project. For projects that include window replacement, using the Narroline Window Conversion Kit where applicable might be just the budget savior you were looking for.
The last full-frame Andersen® Narroline® double-hung window rolled off the production line in January 2013, concluding a 50 year run where 50 million Andersen Narroline window units were installed in homes across the United States and abroad. That means there’s a good chance your customer’s home may have them. Full-frame production may have come to a halt, but Andersen continues to manufacture Narroline® window conversion kits, which feature Andersen 400 Series tilt-wash sash.
These kits provide the ability for us to upgrade your existing Andersen Narroline windows to new technology without disturbing the frame or interior and exterior trim. It’s a relatively simple, cost-effective change-out that provides a good ROI and may lead to other remodeling work as well.
Kits include two window sash (upper and lower) with standard, energy efficient Low-E4® glass, left and right jamb assemblies and other components for the conversion. In addition, the new sash have the added tilting feature for easy cleaning.
Look carefully before taking out that aging Andersen window. It may be a candidate for a Narroline Conversion Kit. Why spend all that extra money on full frame replacement windows when you can preserve original windows you already have.
Original article found here