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How IoT is Posing Threat to Your Home

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Internet of Things (IoT) has become one of the fastest-growing arms of the internet. From your digital assistant Alexa lighting up the smart home to your security camera live-streaming the feed to your smartphone; IoT has made homes smart and our lives convenient.

In the USA, people installed more than 45 billion devices in 2018.

If this is not enough, as per the Orbis report; the global smart home market is poised to surpass $150 billion by 2023. 

However, an increased number of connected devices has also created more access points within the home network. More access to technology means smart homes have become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. And home is supposed to be the safest spot for you and your family. Right?

Default passwords, existing vulnerabilities and porus configuration are some of the most common reasons for potential security breaches. 

Why IoT is a serious threat to your home?

Several IoT devices are not vulnerable due to poor set up by the vendor. Instead, they become cybersecurity threat magnet due to poor testing, certification and poor encryption. For instance, sensors meant to monitor temperature and humidity are not good enough to handle leading-edge encryption and other advanced security features. 

As per Gartner, by 2021 more than 75 percent of smart devices will be used for botnet attacks. Through hacking smart home devices, hackers can not only breach your privacy and security but they can also execute a bigger attack like shutting down the electrical grid by triggering thousands of high voltage devices at once.

More than 8 out of 10 home or office routers are vulnerable in the USA. these routers can be hacked easily through DNS hijacking. 

Another main reason is that our attitude towards the majority of IoT devices is to just set up and forget. These devices are left like that only without any security updates or patches until they reach their end of life. 

How Hackers can misuse your smart devices?

Smart Lock

Hackers can gain access to your smart lock to control the entry and exit points in your house. In the worst-case scenario, hackers can let intruders barge in the house steal our precious assets. They can also lock you in or out of the house leading to immense difficulty.

Smart Speaker

Last year, a bug in Amazon Echo recorded the private conversation of a couple and sent it to a friend. Well, that’s exactly the kind of thing hackers can also do. You also use Alexa or Google Home to control your home appliances including, light, televisions and thermostat through voice commands.

The compromised security of a smart speaker would allow hackers to give their own voice command to spread chaos inside your home.

Kitchen Appliances

A hacked smart refrigerator can allow hackers to order unlimited groceries from your device. They can also manipulate the temperature setting to spoil your food delicacies inside the refrigerator. Hackers can also register a faulty expiration date.

Similarly, a smart coffee maker can brew coffee constantly if hacked. This would lead to wastage of your expensive gourmet coffee. They can also alter the quality of brew by manipulating the settings.

Restroom

Smart toilets are meant to help you keep things extremely neat clean. However, when a smart toilet is hacked it can empty your overhead water tank by constant flushing. Hackers can also stop the water supply to the toilet to leave you in an uncomfortable condition.

Security Camera

Internet security cameras account for almost half of the IoT devices being compromised by hackers. Hacked security cam can help hackers monitor in and out movements of your house. Hackers can also replace live feed with recorded feed to bluff you that everything is fine at home.

Smart Bulb

You might have installed smart bulbs to switch them on or off from anywhere conveniently. But hackers can do the same to your nightmare. They can turn on or off light bulbs at odd hours to disturb you. Hackers can also tall all the bulbs in your absence to beef up your bills for no reason.

Burglars can also turn off smart lights around your security camera to eliminate a clear recording of live footage. Aside, smart bulbs are mass manufactures and the WiFi password in it is often stored insecurely in plain text.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Robot vacuum cleaner scrapes through the surface of the entire home while its sensors identify objects and walls to prevent a collision. An Israeli firm easily took control of an LG robot vacuum cleaner. If hackers get access to the device, they can easily map out the floor plan of your house to plan theft or other harmful activities.

Portable Devices

Smartphones and smartwatches are those devices which enter both outdoor and home environment. These devices bring greater threat as they can catch malware from some outdoor location and affect your smart home appliances once you are back and connected to the home network.

How to Secure Smart Devices?

Here are a few essential security measures you can take to make your smart devices more secure and reliable.

  • To ensure unwanted access and attacks like brute force; change weak passwords of your smart devices. Also, keep changing the passwords at regular intervals.
  • Mapping of all the smart devices at home should be done to keep track of which device has become vulnerable over the period of time and needs replacement.
  • Manufacturers often release patches and security updates to keep your smart devices reliable. Make sure that all your devices are regularly updated.
  • Isolate problematic devices from the network to decrease network vulnerability.

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