Could You Be at Risk from Your Smart Home?

The consumer market is being overtaken by the Internet of Things which covers every consumer category from fitness trackers to coffee makers.  While the idea of smart automation will make life more convenient, when it comes to the security system, you could be making your home more vulnerable by connecting to the internet.  If you are thinking of having a smart home, you should look at the most common elements of a security system, the dangers they create and what you can do to mitigate this.

Smart Home Risk_TechGYO
(Featured Image Courtesy: good work labs)

Smart Security Cameras

A lot of homeowners are integrating high-tech smart cameras into their home security system.  Smart cameras can alert you to suspicious movements and activities around and inside your home.  You will be able to control the camera angles, as well as view, live feeds from a remote location on a smartphone or a tablet.

Researchers from the Context Information Security say that such cameras can easily be tampered with. Infiltrators can intercept the Wi-Fi network passwords and then change the camera angles or stop warning messages from reaching the homeowner.

One of the most common cameras is the Motorola FOCUS73, and the manufacturer’s security partner has since patched the vulnerabilities.  Updates to the device are now automated which ensures that any new patches are installed automatically.  This has strengthened the software immensely.

One of the best ways to mitigate issues with smart cameras is to buy a reliable one. You may have to pay more, but it'll be worthwhile. A decent camera keeps the hackers from accessing your home.

Smart Door Locks

Smart door locks such as the Schlage BE369 makes it easier for people to enter their home by using a digital keypad.  When you integrate the smart lock into a smart home system such as the Samsung SmartThings hub, you will be able to remotely monitor and control the locks.

Researchers from the University of Michigan performed a platform-wide study of the Samsung hub security.  The researchers found that the Schlage locks could easily be digitally picked when they are controlled through this hub.  The researchers were able to use a malware app disguised as a battery tracker to remotely watch the owners make new PIN codes and then copy the code to access the lock.  There were also able to create new PINs which allowed them to unlock the door disregarding the owner’s original entry.

Samsung was alerted to these issues, and they have started work on long-term repairs and fixes.  The company blog has stated that the company is aware of the issue and that firmware updates are ongoing.

If you want to mitigate this problem, you should be wary of any apps that work with your smart devices that do not come from the manufacturer.  The more access you allow these third-party apps, the greater the potential for exploited entry into your home.

Smart Doorbells for a Smart Home

One of the newest parts of the smart home security system is the Ring smart doorbell which is easy to install and will double as an intercom and camera.  With this doorbell’s mobile app, you will be able to see and talk to visitors before you open the door.  When this is used with smart locks, you will be able to monitor who is entering and exiting your home.

Pen Test Partners performed a security test which found that hackers could use the doorbell to access Wi-Fi networks and passwords.  They can then open connected devices which will lead to more breaches.  When the research was completed, all intruders would need to do is simply unscrew Ring from the doorframe. And then press the rather large reset button which allows them to access the secure wireless network.

The company response was very quick when they were alerted to the problem, and a firmware release has been completed.  The update was done automatically which ensured that all of the users of the doorbell would have this without any downloads needed.

If you want to mitigate this risk, ensure that smart doorbells run on the most recent and updated software versions. Also, keep checking the manufacturer’s website regularly to ensure that you have all the latest updates.

Smart Garage Doors

There are a lot of people who forget to close the garage door when they leave for work, and these people should consider investing in a smart garage door opener such as the Chamberlain MyQ Garage.  The device and corresponding app will make it possible for people to control their garage door functions remotely.  This allows you to track when your door is open and ensure that you do not leave the garage open.

In 2015, a Veracode report looked at the overall security of 6 smart products which included the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. It was found that there were some issues. A majority of the devices didn't require a strong password during the initial setup. And they even lacked protection against command interceptions.

After the publication of the report, the company confirmed that they'd fixed all of the software vulnerabilities.It just required a complex password. The company has also added that they're looking for ways to increase password security requirements in future updates.

The best way to mitigate the risks with smart garage doors is to always have complex passwords. Make sure to also update the passwords regularly. Each password for each device should be unique, strong and hard for people to guess.

The Internet of Things market is increasing and changing the way that security systems work.  However, there are several vulnerabilities you need to know about. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate these risks and ensure that your security system protects you as it should.

(Featured Image Courtesy: wicked smart homes)