This guest post was provided by Ralph Goodman.
The word of the future is connectivity. In today’s world, connectivity is the driving force behind almost every action and technological breakthrough. The advent of the smart home is truly a beacon of the technological revolution. In time, almost every action will be automated. There is no doubt that these advancements will shape the course of the future. But it is important that we do not overlook the security concerns that these bring simply because we are all fixated on the increased comfort, efficiency, and connectivity. A smart home is defined as a home in which some (if not all) of the integral functions (lights, heat, powering electronic gadgets) are remotely controlled by a central unit, a computer, or a smartphone. I believe that before the smart home can become truly ‘smart’, some security threats need to be addressed.
1. Network Security Vulnerability
Network security and IoT Security are important to smart homes. The fact that a smart home has to exist (in some part) on the Internet, introduces a new host of threats that the traditional home was not accustomed too. Investing in a high-security firewall may help your network vulnerabilities, but it is a small solution to a much larger problem. The smart home opens up many gateways that criminals can take advantage of. In addition to this, smart homes and IoT devices are also plagued with insecure network services. The strength of smart home security cannot rest only on firewalls and the changing of passwords. For a system that has so much data being transmitted on a daily basis, it is necessary to have stringent authentication methods in place, as well as secure the web interfaces and cloud interface.
2. Data Relay Insecurities
The transmission of data is paramount to ensuring that smart homes function the way they are supposed to. There are hosts of smart home devices that do not have 2-way authentication when they are transmitting data. In addition to this, some devices have privileges and access that they shouldn’t have. For instance, if your lights are meant to turn on when your smart lock is unlocked, your lights should not have the ability to relay a message to your lock to open. In some cases, this will work, but many homeowners are not privy to this, simply because they wouldn’t hack their own homes. The smart home industry needs to provide much more rigorous ways of securing data transmission to ensure that they are not misused.
3. Communication Systems Vulnerabilities
The relay of data is an integral part of the smart home, as was discussed above. However, communication security is equally important. In addition to the data that is relayed between devices, homeowners also communicate with outside sources. In a smart home, communication protocols can be compromised and used to steal data, eavesdrop on homeowners, and gain insight into their private affairs. The smart home places the homeowners information and data in a more precarious spot than traditional homes ever did. As such, it is important for the smart home industry to pay attention to the inherent dangers in communication.
4. Physical Security Vulnerabilities
The security of smart home devices is not just based on the strength of their software and the lines of code that go into encrypting data transmissions. In many cases, the physical security of a smart home device plays an integral role in just how secure this device will be. If a burglar can easily bypass the physical security features of your smart home device then your software security is mostly nullified.
It is important for smart home devices to have adequate physical security. A majority of these smart home devices do not come with any advanced physical security features and they can easily be broken or tampered with, which doesn’t bode well for them. In the meantime, homeowners can employ the services of a local locksmith to try and bolster the physical security of their smart locks or other devices.
The smart home is definitely here to stay, on that much, we can all agree. It is going to end up being a staple of the future, but it will be necessary to make sure that all the kinks that are present within the smart home are fixed so that families are not left more vulnerable because of it.