Thursday
October 2, 2014

Smart Homes Draw Security Concerns

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Smart Homes Draw Security Concerns

As homes get more connected to technology, security researchers are sounding the alarm on the vulnerabilities smart homes may pose.

The home automation market is expected to soar to $16.4 billion by 2019. But with that surging growth, researchers are asking for more attention to be drawn to the security of these devices to make sure they don't reveal too much about home owners should they fall into the wrong hands.

Smart Homes a Smart Choice?

Smart-home devices run the gamut: a garage door that opens automatically as you approach the house; a thermostat automatically adjusting to fit your comfort level; even your oven adjusting its temperature based on the recipe you're using.

Smart homes promise to offer home owners greater convenience, but security experts are concerned about devices that are able to remotely track you when you're away from the house, monitor household activity through embedded cameras, and provide keyless entrance, Builder Online reports.

"Looking at the rate at which new products come to the market and the connectivity outside the home, all of a sudden there's a lot of personal information being transmitted over the Internet," Hagai Feiner, founder and CEO of Access Networks, told Builder Online. "The more intertwined those devices are into our lives, the more risk is present. It's becoming a bigger issue as we have more and more devices that are looking at our patterns — and this is where technology is going. The more products we have that are learning and that transmit to the Internet, the more risk we have of those devices being hacked and information being held by rogue identities."

HP Fortify on Demand created the IoT Top 10, an educational effort to explore the main security problems for internet-connected home devices.

In a recent study, the group tested 10 of the most popular smart-home devices and found that 70 percent of them presented serious vulnerabilities — with an average of 25 vulnerabilities per device — says Daniel Miessler of HP Fortify on Demand. Most of the devices that posed concerns collected personal information that included addresses, health information, and credit card numbers. The data is being transmitted — often unencrypted — over users' networks and across mobile apps and cloud services, which could open up home owners to a potential data breach.

The study also found that 80 percent of the devices failed to use strong authentication measures and permitted weak passwords such as "1234."

As researchers continue to raise the discussion of security in smart-home devices, they are urging home owners to also be smart about which products they choose. They encourage home owners to use products that have strong authentication measures and to choose better passwords in keeping their data safe.

Source: “Data Breach: Privacy Concerns Abound Around the Connected Home,” Builder Online (Aug. 13, 2014)