November 02 2018 0comment

Make Your Home Both Smart And Secure

CybersecurityI cover software security and privacy.

“Smart but insecure” sounds like you’re talking about a high achiever who needs therapy.

Which you could be. But in the online world, it applies to semi-animate objects – the hundreds of millions of devices in American homes that are, at one level, smart.

They range from thermostats to appliances like ovens and refrigerators, to TVs, kids’ toys, vacuums, speakers, light bulbs, security cameras, baby monitors, door and window locks, plugs and switches, smoke detectors and, of course, your virtual assistant, all controllable through your voice or yes, those other smart things – your phone or other computing device.

They offer almost magical convenience – responding to remote commands, warning you when something is wrong or about to go wrong, or just letting you know when you are running low on milk.

But, most are also notoriously insecure – vulnerable to hackers – and are in need of their own kind of therapy, which in this case is software that is not riddled with vulnerabilities that frequently can’t even be patched.

So, given that we are at the start of Security Awareness Month, it would be good to start in the home, where you should be aware of the scale of the problem, aware that it is not going to be fixed by government or the private sector anytime soon, and aware of what you can and should be doing to make sure you don’t sacrifice security for convenience.

The problem is both massive and pervasive. Numerous studies confirm what is frequently called the “terrifying” reality that virtually all smart home devices, including extra-sensitive ones like baby monitors and “hubs” that control multiple devices, can be easily hacked.

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