Our houses are equipped with many smart devices like Alexa for playing songs we want to listen to or order things from amazon, vacuum cleaners like Rumba, smart TVs to record our favorite shows automatically, Nany cams, and security cameras to make sure our kids and our home safe from intruders, Wearables to monitor our health and exercises, etc. In short, our homes have become smart homes.
This sounds wonderful from a convenience point of view; there are many benefits of these smart devices ….
Are we taking a moment and think about the associated risks of these smart connected devices to us and our loved ones? Are we really safe in our home without anybody watching, listening to us, without knowing our family routine, without knowing love, stress, or conflicts between our family members?
Before answering this question lets us get to know more about the internet-connected devices that are part of our SMART HOME and our daily life including our smartphone, tablets, laptops, etc.
The definition of Smart Home as per Webopedia “Smart home is a term that refers to modern homes that have appliances, lighting, and/or electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by the owner, often via a mobile app. Smart home-enabled devices can also operate in conjunction with other devices in the home and communicate information to other smart devices.”
The points to be noted here are, not only these appliances can be controlled using mobile or web-based applications but these appliances can communicate with each other and that can be a concern if one of these appliances/devices gets hacked, the hackers can get access to other devices.
A smart home is like living in a Si-Fi movie world, having a genie ready to take your order “your wish is my command”, controlling everything from wherever you are and whenever you want. Though conventionally wearables, kids tracking devices are not part of a smart home, I am including these anyways as part of the smart home. You can’t call the walls with roof and bunch of appliances as a home, home is where the family stays, shares sunny and gloomy days, care for each other and these wearables, kids tracking devices has become part of family members.
This sound very glamorous, it becomes smart coz of the devices called as Internet Of the Things or IoT Devices. These consumer IoT devices are nothing but sensors to sense various parameters like light intensity, temperature, sounds, touch, etc and software programs that take the actions as per the predefined or configurable settings and this can be controlled using the Mobile applications or Web applications. These appliances/ devices communicate with mobile/web app over the internet using WiFi. To keep the cost of these devices competitive manufactures of these devices pay less or no attention to the security of these devices and the way these devices shares data, communicate with each other, or with the application. So how all this matter to our safety?
The moment anything you connect to the internet you are vulnerable to getting attacked by malicious intention people, the weakness into your WiFi router or any of these appliances can be hacked and result in taking control of all connected devices …. altering the geolocation of your child’s tracker, increasing the speaker volumes loud enough to harm baby’s hearing or mask the gunshots …You may think … your baby is sleeping in a cozy warm bedroom but hackers can alter the temperature conditions either too cold or too warm that might harm your child. The devices like Alexia or Smart TV can record all your conversations and this can be used to know the relationship between parents and child, family routine, plans, etc this can be used against you and your family …. Nanny cams can be compromised and replay the previous recording and to give what exactly happening in your home …. When attackers compromise your devices many unthinkable things can happen …..
The entry point of the internet to your home is your WiFi router and the home router is the first thing you need to secure, as per the new study, conducted by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Communication (FKIE), has revealed that every single home router developed by the top vendors in the genre features security flaws, thereby exposing millions of users to a wide variety of cyber threats.
With a large majority of us are currently reliant on home networks for our work and studies, as per the TrendMicro report the attackers are targeting home routers using Botnet to conduct large scale attacks
Next in line are the security cameras used at smart homes, to get familiar with how the security cameras can be used against us, watch this video on “Who is watching you”. Also, check this link for how kids smartwatch can be hacked…
The Old saying is …… We live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns…
To make it more relevant to today’s world ……..We live in the Smart Home and it needs to be guarded by Cybersecurity ….
I do not mean to scare you or I am not asking you to stop using these devices. To protect your smart home from malicious intention people, follow these basic security rules:
- Make sure to change the default user name, passwords of all your smart devices
- Change the default settings of the devices
- Change the name of your home WiFi router
- Know the devices connected to your WiFi network …e.g. Nany Cams, Laptops, Smartphones, wearables, etc.
- Have a separate password for each device
- Follow the basic rules to set passwords (minimum 8 to 10 characters, at least one character is capital latter, one numerical character, and one special character) for setting
- Keep all the devices updated with the latest patches and updates
It is better to take precautions than feeling sorry …. For further information about how to protect your home from cyber attackers, refer my previous blog “Proven methods to Secure Your Home Network”
Enjoy the convenience of your smart home …. stay connected …..stay safe … stay protected …