The Challenges of Security for IoT and Home Automation
As smart homes are quickly becoming a fixture with several homeowners taking on the concept of automated living, security experts have warned about the vulnerability that comes with smart homes.
As we connect devices to a smart hub that operate under a WI-FI connection, the home router is found to be the weakest link of the setup as routers have proven to be vulnerable with their firmware. The recent news of the spyware CherryBomb as exposed by Wikileaks has pushed router security under the scrutiny of the public. Thousands of router firmware had their software rewritten in order to track the user’s internet behavior.
For router manufacturers, this is a long overdue wake up call to better improve their router’s firmware integrity and future-proof the router’s security to scale with emerging security standards and the growing sophistications of malware out in the public.
Router Vulnerability Equals Smart Home Vulnerability
For homes that have a home WI-FI network, a hacked router opens up a lot of vulnerabilities where cybercriminals can gain access to your computers, devices, personal information and your security cameras such as baby monitors and CCTV. Imagine if a smart home’s router is hacked, cybercriminals will have access to the system in which connected appliances and systems are compromised. In the smart home setup, router security will either be your weakest link or the the first line of defense against cyber intrusion.
Vulnerable Smart Appliances
Aside from the router, each connected appliance that is IoT enabled are also at risk when it comes to hacking. Hackers use platforms such as the Shodan search engine and Mirai botnet to scan for the firmware vulnerabilities of manufactured smart devices that are out in the market. You may have come across stories of how hackers are able to infiltrate security systems and their CCTV. With each connected smart device, the risk assessment escalates as one faulty firmware with vulnerability could compromise the overall security of the interconnected smart home.
IoT Security Standards Must Be Set
Experts on the Internet of Things have encouraged associations, groups, internet providers, companies and manufacturers to come together and define the security standards for the upcoming IoT shift. Security standards basing on smarter authentication, network frequency, firmware updates and consumer guarantees were on fucs as threats are scaling up to the IoT’s vulnerability compared to the security measures in place. Security for IoT and smart homes are currently restricted by manufacturer settings and network providers. The ideal setting is a collective IoT Security Industry Standards born from the collaboration of network engineers, manufacturers and solutions providers.
Threat Awareness for Smart Home Owners
The concept of the smart home is modeled after convenience through connectivity and automation of processes for efficiency. When homeowners decide to adopt the concept of the smart home, they must also be aware of the threats confronting the smart home as cybercriminals are trawling the internet and are also devising hacks aimed at the smart home. In response, the would-be smart home owner must respond with a security measure in place. Security for smart homes can start with awareness and taking the necessary steps to secure the integrity of your home network:
- Make sure that your home router’s software is always updated; patches and software updates issued by the router manufacturer contain important security fixes for vulnerabilities found in the previous and current router software version.
- Make sure that you have a home network firewall installed as the firewall will be your first line of defense against network intrusion.
- Like your router software, the connected devices such as appliances and systems must also have the latest system software installed. Manufacturers of smart devices also issue security fixes in the system update.
- Hire a home network security consultant. While still uncommon, smart home security professionals assess the vulnerabilities of your home setup and make recommendations on how you can improve your smart home security. Professionals like the smart home security specialists will grow in number in the near future as smart homes become more common.
- Do research on smart home device and appliance manufacturers who offer great customer service, technical support and solid support on the continuous software updates for their smart plug products.
Network Security Advancement
The movers and shakers of the Internet of Things are aware of the vulnerabilities that come with the IoT concept and its practical application that starts with the smart home automation. New technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are being geared for field testing to combat cyber threats. Artificial Intelligence will constantly probe, detect and learn from the threats basing on security logs and it will direct security fixes in real time; faster than the human reaction in cyber threats. Machine Learning will allow smart appliances for example, to be self-diagnosing in term of its firmware health as it will issue a notification to the user for a security fix. Users may even authorise the smart appliance to download security fixes by itself.
If you are planning to get started with home automation, awareness of security and risk must be a part of the planning. In choosing a smart home energy management system, choose a company that has a great track record of providing product support, technical support and constant updates on the firmware.
This article was originally published from carbonTRACK