The Personal Security Problems of Internet of Things in Our Dally Lives and Homes

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I love technology.  I like the idea of being able to turn on my lights or set the temperature of my house when I am at home or away all by apps on my phone.   So many things from light bulbs to our security systems are connected.  Many are even talking to each other.  This is what is called the Internet of Things (IoT) But as we connect all these things to the fun world of the internet, we open ourselves, families and our homes to major security concerns that can endanger us.

We hear about hacks and breaches everyday at companies big and small.  Some for financial or to steal money or some new product design.  Some for political reason and some, well, just because they can.  The problem is as technology grows and makes our lives easier and gives us control of items all around our homes or in our cars, it also lets others in as well to take the control away from us.

Researchers at Princeton University at the university’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) looked at how the information that is transmitted between the connected devices in your houses and the cloud they are connected too.  The looked at how secure all this technology really is. The devices that was researched included the Belkin WeMo Switch, Nest Thermostat, Ubi Smart Speaker, Sharx Security Camera, PixStar Digital Photoframe and the SmartThings Hub.  It appeared that some of these devices sent out information out into the wild with very limited or with no security at all.

The researches looked at the very popular Nest thermostats.  They found that the thermostats were openly giving out the users zip codes over the internet and out in the open for anyone to obtain.  Nest did quickly patched the hole when the CITP told them about the issue they found.

Another interesting find by the researchers focused on the Sharx security camera that would send out footage over an unencrypted FTP, which allowed anyone who wanted to see it have access to it with out any credentials.  It was there for the taking.  It appears all the traffic to the PixStar digital photo frame was not encrypted, so everything in regards to the user’s activity with the PixStar was simply available to be taken.

Overall, the CITP researchers say that many IoT products or devices don’t encrypt parts of the details that are transmitted over the internet.  Even if it was, the CTIP states that even if the information is being sent back and forth while being locked down, most likely there is still a way for hackers to tell if one of the gadgets are in your home and then attack it and opening up our homes to significant personal security and safety concerns.


About the Author:

Online Security Expert Todd Laff reviews online hacks and security issues and how to protect yourself and secure your network.
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