With the onslaught of new technology hitting the market every month, it’s easy to fall for the convenience of having a smarthome, a smartphone, and a smartcar. We all fawn over the commercials showing a person commanding their house to dim the lights, set the oven to pre-heat, put on a show, and adjust the thermostat. How easy and wonderful that all looks!
But there’s a much darker side to having everything connected like that. No commercial will advertise the dangers of having your entire home (and everything inside) at the mercy of cybercriminals. Nowadays, cybersecurity is more important than ever.
ARRC, give me some examples.
Well, there was a hacker who broke into a baby monitoring system. When the parents walked into the baby’s room, the remotely-controlled camera moved to point at them, and the cyberattacker proceeded to scream obscenities at them.
Reacting as expected, the parents immediately pulled out the electrical plug for the monitoring system and it shut down. In the aftermath, the company who made the monitoring system announced and posted a patch to make the systems more secure, but many systems are still being used without the patch. People these days can’t be inconvenienced with updating their software, but the risks are not worth avoiding those updates.
If a video monitoring system being hacked isn’t troublesome enough for you, think about all the other dangers. Cars with controls that can be operated remotely is a prime example. A hacked video monitor can’t kill you, but a hacked car speeding down the highway certainly can.
Take it a step further. Remotely-controlled insulin pumps have even been hacked. Thanks to the way the security protocols on those devices are rigged, the murderer would likely never be caught. Scared yet?
Sorry ARRC, none of this applies to me.
Yes, you may be thinking, this doesn’t apply to me. I don’t have a remotely-controlled car or an insulin pump. But you do access the internet from home, don’t you? A US cybersecurity firm found 300,000 compromised routers in homes around the world. In 2012, a group of cybercriminals from Brazil successfully attacked 4.5 million home routers and gained access to bank accounts and sensitive financial information.
So unless you live in a pineapple under the sea and don’t have internet at all in your home, you are definitely in need of proper cybersecurity measures.
If you really want a smarthome (or any other highly-advanced and internet-based product), do not install internet controls on critical components and make sure you have a cybersecurity plan and strategy in place to make sure criminals cannot access your home, your car, your financial information, your family mementos, or anything else you value.
On a final, and comical, note: Before getting a divorce, a married couple had installed smart controls on the HVAC system in their home. After splitting up, the woman did not change the passwords for HVAC access. The former husband started freezing the woman and her new boyfriend in the winter by turning on the A/C and also turning on the heat in the summer.