Rise in Smart Locks, Smart Home Connected Devices Leaves the Door Open to Hackers

As more connected devices reach the market still riddled with vulnerabilities, badly coded APIs and poor encryption, home and business owners leave themselves open to hackers, break-ins and even stolen identity.

Hurried attempts to keep up with the rapid rise of smart home connected devices may leave some manufacturers’ products and systems open to cyber threats, according to a recent ABI Research report.

The report forecasts 360 million smart home device shipments by 2020.

“We see an alarming increase in ransomware in smart TVs and IP cameras, code injection attacks, evidence of zero-day threats, and password eavesdropping for smart locks and connected devices,” says Dimitrios Pavlakis, industry analyst at ABI Research. “The current state of security in the smart home ecosystem is woefully inadequate.”

There have been numerous reported attack vectors identified in smart home communication protocols, including the popular ZigBee, Z-Wave and even standard Wi-Fi connection. Smart locking systems, sensor systems and other security products are more vulnerable to tampering and hacking today than they have been in the past. This vulnerability could lead to break-ins, home invasion, robbery and even cybersecurity breaks resulting in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks or stolen identities.

Luckily, Pavlakis says there is a solution.

“Smart home device vendors need to start implementing cybersecurity mechanisms at the design stage of their products,” says Pavlakis.

Some smart home vendors are starting to take cybersecurity seriously. Big name vendors including Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung and Philips now include security within the project design phase, which primarily means securing the network, making use of encryption key management and placing limitations on communication protocols.

“OEMs need to first think about security at the design stage and conduct risk assessments,” says Pavlakis. “The next step is to ensure that proper security testing happens before the product goes to market. OEMs then need to offer continuous security support over the course of the product’s lifespan. Without these basic measures, the eventual financial and reputational costs to OEMs will be high in the wake of malicious hacking of smart home products.”

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