Smart homes as a data security concern

As the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more of a reality with each passing day, so are the data security concerns that surround it. The purpose of these devices is to make things as convenient as possible for the end users; however, if insufficient measures are taken to protect them against hackers, experts say the consumers are in for a world of hurt.

If companies continue to produce IoT devices with weak or no security protections, hackers and their subsequent attacks will thrive. The problem is that it is often impossible to know whether your IoT devices are secure or not.

Any IoT device, such as thermostats, refrigerators, video cameras, fitness trackers, or phones could all potentially be used not only to steal our personal data, but also as an army to cause an internet outage.

For example, IoT devices were used to shut down the heating and water systems at two apartment buildings in Finland last month. Additionally, in the last year, researchers discovered nine types of baby monitors which had vulnerabilities. They were able to access the live video feeds, change camera settings, and do everything that is typically within the scope of power of the device’s administrators.

Jason Hong, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, says there are certain things the users can do to minimise the risks. These include changing the default password, unplugging the device when it is not used, updating it regularly, and searching for any security flaws online.