Surprising Ways Smart Homes Get Hacked

If smart homes freak you out just a little bit, you’re not alone.

This technology can adjust lights, thermostats, and even coffee makers, and while it is undeniably convenient and accessible, there’s something a little creepy about a home so dominated by technology.

There are an estimated 175 million smart homes in the world, and some of them have vulnerabilities that cyber attackers can take advantage of.

Below, we’ll outline seven methods hackers may employ to breach your smart home security, along with effective prevention strategies.

1. Smart Bulb Vulnerabilities

Believe it or not, your light bulb might make you more vulnerable to hackers.

These devices connect to your Wi-Fi network, enabling remote control through a smartphone or a smart hub. While convenient, some smart bulbs have been found to have security flaws that cyber attackers can take advantage of to gain entry into your network.

Once infiltrated, hackers can use a compromised smart bulb as a stepping stone to access other devices on your network.

To counter this, research your smart bulb and only choose a reputable brand.

2. Voice Command Manipulation

Voice-activated assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have transformed the way that we interact with technology.

Unfortunately, they’ve also changed the way hackers can infiltrate systems.

Cyber attackers have found ways to trick these virtual assistants into executing commands, even without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

This could range from playing innocuous music to more sinister activities like unlocking doors or disarming security systems.

3. Interception of Smart Home Data via Power Lines

Some smart devices rely on power line communication technology, which allows data to be transmitted over electrical wiring.

An unconventional hacking method involves intercepting data passed through these power lines.

This means that sensitive information, like security codes or device status updates, can potentially be intercepted and exploited.

4. Hijacking Smart Home Integrations

Research published last year shows that unauthorized network access was the most common cause of third-party attacks, initiating 40% of such incidents.

Many smart homes rely on third-party services or apps, and hackers take advantage of this.

If your smart home relies on these less secure third-party services, your smart home network might be vulnerable to such cyberattacks.

5. Infrared Signal Eavesdropping

Some older smart devices use infrared signals for tasks like remote control operation or motion detection.

This opens the door to an infrared signal eavesdropping.

Hackers can use specialized equipment to intercept these signals, capturing commands or data sent between devices. By deciphering the captured information, they can potentially control devices remotely

5 Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Smart Home

If we’ve freaked you out, don’t worry; there are several steps you can take to protect your smart home.

1. Device Segmentation

Device segmentation is one of the most effective strategies to protect your smart home from potential cyberthreats.

This involves creating separate networks or segments for different categories of devices.

For example, you might want to have your security cameras or door locks on one network and your light bulbs or TVs on another.

That way, even if a hacker accesses one of these segments, they won’t have access to all your devices.

2. Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication uses physical or behavioral characteristics to verify a person’s identity.

This includes the use of fingerprints, facial features, iris patterns, or voiceprints.

This method is harder for hackers to exploit, and many smart home systems are now incorporating these features as an alternative to passwords.

This not only bolsters your security but is also an easier way to access accounts, devices, and even your home.

3. Network Monitoring Tools

Network monitoring tools monitor the flow of data and activity within your network.

These tools track the performance of various devices, like appliances and services. They track things like how fast your internet is, who’s using it, and if any unusual or suspicious activity is happening.

Additionally, network monitoring tools ensure that your devices are working efficiently, preventing any potential slowdowns or disruptions.

4. Behavioral Analysis

Over time, your smart home will start to recognize your regular patterns and interactions with your devices.

By establishing a baseline of typical behavior, your device will be able to recognize when there is suspicious or irregular activity.

For instance, the system can trigger an alert if a smart lock is typically activated at certain times of the day but suddenly activates at an irregular hour.

This alert might trigger restrictions that could prevent a hacker from gaining access.

5. Additional Security Measures

You might want to explore the option of cybersecurity insurance, a specialized type of coverage aimed at reducing financial losses and offering assistance in the aftermath of a cyber attack or data breach.

On the other hand, here are a couple more tips to keep hackers out of your system:

  1. Bolster Passwords: Avoid reusing passwords for your smart devices. Each password should be complex and unique. You can also consider using a password manager to help strengthen your smart home.
  2. Stay Updated: Keep your devices updated to make sure you have all the latest security features.
  3. Fortify Wi-Fi Security: Smart homes rely on Wi-Fi, so any steps you take to strengthen your network will protect your home system in turn. Start by setting strong passwords and regularly reviewing your connected devices.
  4. Embrace Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Activating multi-factor authentication is always a good cybersecurity practice. This is especially important for your smart home apps and accounts.
  5. Employ VPN: Employ a VPN: You could also try using a VPN. One of the benefits of using a VPN is that it encrypts your internet connection, making it much harder for hackers to gain access.

Smart Homes Are The Future

Smart homes have simplified many aspects of home life. From automatic coffee machines to voice-activated light switches to appliances with built-in AI, there are lots of new home technologies that have gained popularity in recent years.

If you are considering upgrading your home to be a smart home, remember that these technologies can harbor potential cybersecurity risks, and it’s important to follow the aforementioned steps to ensure you’re not putting yourself in danger.

This way, you can reap the benefits of an efficient, smart home while still prioritizing your cybersecurity.


Tags: manipulation, safety, smart homes, voice command

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