Here on Red Alert Labs we have asked how we can enhance trust in connected things, because there’s no denying that the world’s security technology has many failings. As more and more people adopt technology that can be connected to the internet, we noted how the “IoT can make it even easier and devastating to get compromised, as it connects the physical and digital world.” The biggest trend in the past year has been the rise of smart homes and devices. With everything from our light switches to our fridges connected to the internet, how safe are smart homes from cyber attacks?
The Ambient claims the battle between home tech has already started. Not enough consumers are aware that any device in a smart home—anything that has firmware and a networking capability—can be a target for cybercriminals. Perhaps the most frightening real-world example is how a baby monitor can be accessed remotely. Cyber security expert Vikas Bhatia doesn’t trust the long list of high-tech features that make up modern baby monitors. Security experts understand how baby monitors with enabled Wi-Fi can be hacked from anywhere in the world. This happened to a family in Washington. A hacker spoke to their baby through the monitor and they discovered the camera following their movements around the room.
It doesn’t matter what the appliance does, if it is connected to the internet it is technically a security risk. When Popular Mechanics sent the login information for a smart refrigerator app to a security researcher, the latter was able to access the fridge remotely and send instructions to change the temperature. But apart from melting your ice cream in the freezer, you could ask what major threat does this pose? The answer is quite a lot: "I could intercept the data, then modify it. If you could give me until the next issue, I could find the real weakness.”
Even though smart kitchen appliances aren’t likely to be targeted by hackers, other more security focused smart technology could be. Smart technology is now at the forefront of home security and there is a wide array of gadgets available. The smart video monitoring cameras on Screwfix show how smart technology is now considered a significant step up in home security. The cameras can be linked to a smartphone providing the user with 24/7 coverage of their home. Smart security devices like cameras and locks can even alert people to unusual movements. Yet despite enhancing a home's security, the security features could potentially be turned against the owners, and monitored by hackers or even turned off.
The increased security threat doesn’t mean people shouldn’t invest in smart technology for their home. They just have to be a little more cautious. Smart homeowners should make security the top priority when buying a device. Raj Samani at McAfee believes it is worth being selective about the devices you connect. “Any device we deploy in my home goes through some degree of due diligence,” he said. He added that it usually begins with the question: ‘Do we really need this?’
IoT security professionals also state that to thwart cyber attacks, always change the default password shipped with the product—and choose a strong password. Keep the device’s software current, too, by regularly checking for updates. You don’t want to miss security updates that might serve as a gateway or a loophole for hackers. Secure your home’s internet router, as it’s the fastest way for cybercriminals to get access to the devices in your home.. also important to learn how to perform what experts call “penetration tests”. These tests can help you determine the weakest spots in your network and devices. Don’t forget to install malware protection, too and make sure that you regularly change your password. Adding multifactor authentications will help keep your smart home safe, as well.
Finally, you should consider that security risks differ from a type of products to another and from an operational environment to another, to make sure you trust these products you should use IoT Security Profiles as procurement requirements.