Smart homes’ connected technologies are leaving homeowners vulnerable to data and privacy theft, according to a new study that examined several common IoT consumer devices.
IoTTech News reports that research by Romanian internet security software maker Bitdefender identified four common IoT products that were susceptible to cyber attack: WeMo switch, LinkHub, LIFX Bulb and the MUZO Cobblestone audio receiver.
Bitdefender undertook the study as IoT smart home systems proliferate globally, making them more subject to hackers’ attention. It examined how these devices communicated with its mobile app, as well as how they connected the cloud and the Internet more broadly. The research recommended that manufacturers need to take greater steps to prevent sensitive data from being overheard as the increasing array of devices communicate with each other.
Smart homes are vulnerable today
Though not one of the devices in this report, at a recent conference university researchers easily showed how one of the most popular smart home devices, the Nest thermostat, can be hacked especially with physical access to the device. In under 15 seconds, bad guys could remove the Nest from its mount, plug in a USB cable, and back-door the device without the owner’s knowledge. The hacked Nest can then be used to spy on the household or serve as a platform to attack other networked devices.
“IoT vendors need to prioritize security before their devices become hugely popular, leaving millions of people at risk from cyberattacks,” said Bitdefender malware researcher Radu Basaraba.
“The IoT opens a completely new dimension to security where the Internet meets the physical world,” he said. “If projections of a hyper-connected world become reality and manufacturers don’t bake security into their products, consequences can becoming life-threatening.”
For the Bitdefender report, the research found that hackers could use the LIFX Bulb to reroute users to a fake hotspot while the LinkHub smart lighting system was sending unencrypted data. The WeMo remote switch was made vulnerable by weak access point authentication, and the MUZO receiver suffered from weak initial credentials that left the device open to hacking.