Have you ever considered that your crockpot could betray you?
What about your coffee pot or your lightbulbs? Not an “Et tu, Brute?” or Benedict Arnold kind of betrayal, but more like a double agent kind of betrayal. It’s not something most people would even worry about. Technophiles strive toward a future of smart homes where everything from lightbulbs to lawnmowers can be controlled by the touchscreen of their phone. And with the announcement of Amazon Key there’s a whole new level of risk. Unquestionably, there are security risks within the Internet of Things (IoT) that can create big problems.
Last year, a bug was reported in the app used to control Belkin’s smart home WeMo products. According to the research by Scott Tengalia and Joe Tanen of Invincea Labs, the bug allowed anyone on the same network to hack the app and gain access to the user’s cellphone.
This would mean that hackers could steal data from another user’s phone ranging from pictures to their exact location. This hole in the system would have given hackers a lot of power once they discovered the holes in the security. Not only did it give them control over the devices, but it also allowed them to disable the owner’s ability to remove malware and update firmware.
There are countless other ways that hackers could cause problems for the owners of IoT devices. An unauthorized user could switch a device on and off at such a fast rate that is creates damage to the device or worse—cause an electrical fire.
The future may be filled with smart homes filled with IoT devices that can communicate not only to your smart home, but to one another. However, there are problems to the system that have yet to be fixed. There are still big questions to be asked, like whether your smart thermometer will still work when the WiFi goes down.
Many IoT devices have several security issues as they are introduced to the market. But as the technology advances, it is likely that security holes will be patched and hackers will have to get even more creative with their craft.
And while there is no evidence that this system flaw was used against users, it may make you think twice about buying an IoT crockpot or coffee maker.