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Online Trust Alliance and National Association of Realtors Create Smart Home Security and Privacy Checklist

Guidance for home buyers, renters and real-estate industry to help protect consumers during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Wed, Oct 21, 2015

BELLEVUE, Wash.  – In support of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) and the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) have partnered to create a Smart Home Checklist that offers guidance to help home buyers, renters and sellers manage the privacy and security of their smart homes and devices.

Today’s homes are being built and retrofitted with smart apps and devices to monitor things like security, temperature and lighting.  Homeowners and renters should be cognizant that these devices may be collecting personal information, or have unpatched vulnerabilities or passwords set by previous 

homeowners, vendors or maintenance personnel.  As evidenced by some of the largest data breaches, access through one device can compromise an entire network.  While home buyers are increasingly embracing an “always on” lifestyle, they may not be aware of the potential privacy or security risks.

“As smart technology becomes more prevalent in our homes, it’s important that we all take precautions to protect our data and privacy,” said NAR President Chris Polychron. “The Online Trust Alliance’s Smart Home Checklist takes a common-sense approach to protecting sensitive information and offers sound advice for anyone who uses smart technology in their day-to-day lives.”

“Although we enjoy the benefits of a connected lifestyle, we must not lose sight of the risks a smart home may pose to our privacy and physical safety.  As evidenced by some privacy practices and recent vulnerabilities with smart cars, TVs and baby monitors, consumers need to be aware of and manage smart devices in their homes,” said Craig Spiezle, President and Executive Director of the Online Trust Alliance.  “Following these recommendations will help consumers better protect their privacy and identity and prevent their personal data from falling into the hands of cybercriminals and being sold to the highest bidder.”

Not unlike turning over all keys and remote controls, the home buyer and renter should ensure that the seller, previous tenants and unauthorized third parties no longer have access to the home’s or apartment’s critical systems and devices. 

Recently the OTA released a draft of its Internet of Things (IoT) Trust Framework, providing guidance to device manufacturers, retailers and application developers to address the top security, privacy and sustainability risks for connected devices, smart homes and wearable technologies.  The Framework is the result of input from industry, government and non-profits including NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Technology.  Read More > 

The Center for REALTOR® Technology, NAR’s Technology Research & Development group, is leading the IoT initiatives for NAR. Aside from educating its membership, CRT is also working closely with universities, vendors, NGOs and government agencies in the name of homeownership and the role of NAR’s 1.1 million members in improving quality of life for homeowners using IoT devices.

About OTA: 

The Online Trust Alliance (OTA) is a non-profit with the mission to enhance online trust and user empowerment while promoting innovation and the vitality of the Internet. Its goal is to help educate businesses, policy makers and stakeholders while developing and advancing best practices and tools to enhance the protection of users' security, privacy and identity. OTA supports collaborative public-private partnerships, benchmark reporting, and meaningful self-regulation and data stewardship. Its members and supporters include leaders spanning the public policy, technology, ecommerce, social networking, mobile, email and interactive marketing, financial, service provider, government agency and industry organization sectors.

About the National Association of Realtors:
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.