Are Smart Homes Really Secure?
You know a technology is the next big thing when giants like Google and Apple actively pursue it. Smarthomes – which remind one of Tony Stark’s futuristic abodes – is one such technology that aims to automate an entire house using self-learning WiFi enabled gadgets. The technology which is still in its infancy can accomplish simple tasks like toggling lights on and off from a remote location to performing surveillance duties like syncing motion sensors with alarms and providing a live stream of security cameras directly to your phone/tablet while you’re on vacation.
The Next Logical Step?
Smarthomes may sound like the next logical step as far as progression of technology is concerned but are they really reliable? Vendors have been figuring out ways to connect everyday objects around the house to the Internet so that they can be controlled using smartphones, but the fact that these intelligent devices require software applications to provide remote access essentially means that criminals with the right skillset can gain access to them.
Cloud computing has enabled us to backup and restore valuable data in case someone gains unauthorized access to our smartphones or computers. Smarthomes, however, are a completely different story. Breach of a Smarthome’s security does not only violate one’s privacy but also poses physical threat to the occupants of the house.
Speaking at Def Con Computer Security conferences in Las Vegas last year, several analysts expressed their concerns over the idea of a smarthome and why vulnerabilities like these have caused a decline in sales of associated devices. Hackers have already uploaded prank toilet flushing videos to more serious one that show computer savvy teenagers gaining access to smart locking system of a house that lacked fool proof security. According to security analysts, every time a device connects to the Internet it becomes a potential target for hackers which is why there is a need to constantly test these devices for a variety of cyber-attacks.
The Real Threat
The most obvious threat when it comes to smarthomes is the breach of home security devices. Smart locks are engineered to accept 4-digit PIN numbers through their associated app. At a Black Hat session, Daniel Crowley – a renowned computer security expert – demonstrated how a third party app can be used by intruders to change the PIN code of a smartlock thus proving the inefficiency of the smartlock technology. Stressing upon the need for better security for locking systems, Crowley stated that “If someone breaks into your house and there’s no sign of forced entry, how are you going to get your insurance company back?”
Manufacturers are shelling out smart products on practically daily basis to cash in on the new technology. New products mean new security holes and greater likelihood of cyber-attacks. Failing to take timely precautions can mean that criminals of the future won’t need crowbars or ski masks to break and enter your home. The Jetsons never had to worry about hack attacks on their futuristic home, but unfortunately our technology does not quite measure up.