The Vulnerabilities of a SMART Home

A smart home is the latest in comfort and convenience but compromised IoT devices can affect users safety.

A smart home automates, and provides ease of access to, routine actions. It allows users to monitor their home in real-time and initiate actions remotely. Despite the convenience, however, security issues can arise if control and visibility within these devices is compromised.

Existing vulnerabilities, poor configuration, and the use of default passwords are some of the most common factors that can aid a hacker in accessing at least one device in a smart home system. Once a single device is compromised, hackers can take a number of actions based on the capabilities and functions of the device potentially compromising the entire residence.

Smart Locks: The most obvious action available for hackers – If compromised, the smart lock can give hackers control over who comes in or out of the house.

Smart Speaker Systems: The device that enables voice-initiated home automation commands. If compromised, a voice-activated device can allow hackers to issue voice commands of their own or steal voice data as credentials for other voice command system.

Smart Refrigerator: Hackers can set up a smart refrigerator to register wrong expiration dates or order large amounts of groceries online.

Smart Bulbs: These can be installed all around the house. They can be turned on or off depending on the time of day or amount of movement or ambient light detected. Hackers can use these to disturb residents, by switching them on at inconvenient times, or more seriously they have the facility to overload the power system.

Smart Vacuum Cleaners: These automated cleaners are often left with mobility around the house and can provide hackers information about the home’s layout. This information can be used by hackers in planning further activities and movements.

Network Connection: Perhaps the largest vulnerability, the network in which smart devices are connected can also prove useful for hackers. Hackers can use the home gateway to redirect or modify connections to their advantage.

Despite the security concerns, IoT has become integrated into modern society, and is becoming increasingly popular.  Cyber security and the benefits of securing networks has never been more important. Simple security measures can ensure users are protected from cyber threats and ensure privacy and personal security is maintained:

1. Map all connected devices. All devices connected to the network should be well accounted for. Their settings, credentials, firmware versions, and recent patches should all be noted to assess appropriate security measures and pinpoint devices that may need updating.

2. Change default passwords and settings. Make sure that the settings used by each device are aligned toward stronger security, and ensure that all default passwords are changed to be as strong as possible.

3. Patch vulnerabilities. Updating technology often brings new levels of security, and it is integral to apply patches as soon as they are released.

4. Apply network segmentation. Network segmentation is where your network is not all connected to one point of access and is used to prevent attacks and isolate compromised devices.