The United States and Great Britain have issued a new type of national alert: a warning about cyber attacks on individuals and private property. The two countries issued a joint alert this week indicating that private homeowners should be aware their internet devices are not only susceptible to hacking by professional, international espionage agencies, but it is homeowners’ role to protect themselves. Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the British National Cyber Security Council, said Russia, for example, may have “millions” of devices designed to harvest credentials and passwords throughout the U.S. and the U.K.

“Once you’ve won the router, you own all the traffic. It is a tremendous weapon in the hands of an adversary,” observed Howard Marshall, deputy assistant director of the cyber division at the United States’ FBI.

Investor Insight: Homeowners may become wary of smart-home technology if national alerts like this become more commonplace, or they may require more assurance of a property’s cybersecurity.

Although the alert is the first aimed at an audience of private citizens, Robert Hennigan, a cybersecurity expert and executive at cybersecurity firm BlueVoyant, said both the U.S. and the U.K. have known about the infiltration of routers and other networks for about two decades. He believes the alert was more of a message to hackers than to homeowners. “This is about saying, ‘We know where you are pre-positioned, and if something happens we will know it is you,” he said.

As part of the alert, both countries asked citizens to upgrade their passwords and personal cybersecurity. This includes devices that may be connected to the internet but not necessarily part of the population of items you think about when you think about changing your passwords. For example, network-connected televisions and speakers can provide access to many of your personal passwords if you do not fail to change the devices’ default passwords before you start using them. Investors selling homes with smart technology should be aware that retail buyers are likely to become more interested in the type of cybersecurity available in the property as these issues continue to garner public attention.

Categories | Article | Market & Trends
Tags | Smart Home
  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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