Connected Homes - The Security Connection

  • Posted on: 28 July 2015
  • By: admin

The Internet of Things (IoT) means that connected homes are on the way to a street near you. We’ve already reported on the IoT and how it’s set to change the way in which we live, work and play in the future and we’ve reported on smart homes (connected homes) earlier this year. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the challenges that are likely to face the early adopters of the connected home as they strive to use technology to make their lives more convenient.

The idea of the connected home looks like an attractive option – smart fridges that tell you when your food is reaching its expiry date, smart lighting and heating systems and wireless doorbells. It’s predicted that connected homes will provide a major fresh revenue stream for the tech giants as the idea takes off and more people see the beneftis of living in a house that does most of the donkey work for you. However,iIt’s been suggested that there could be some major security issues with the connected home, leaving us at the mercy of cyber attackers who could invade our lives unless we adopt some pretty strong security measures.

As the devices in a connected home increasingly rely on remote access and cloud technology, protecting data in the cloud and on the device becomes more important than ever. While connected homes and devices offer consumers an extra level of convenience, each product may have security loopholes that would allow a potential hacker attack. Most connected devices do not recognise this problem so gaining a level of security that does not affect the user experience is a challenge.

There is an increased level of monitoring by security agencies which work with network infrasctructure providers to collect personal data on the Internet. It’s predicted that as connected home devices become more widespread security agencies will collaborate with companies to use devices as another entry point to monitor people’s homes. The industry itself has developed a range of security technologies and practices that can be used to protect individual privacy but it comes down to a nation’s lawmakers to decide whetehr or not security agencies are allows into the homes of its citizens.

Although in the consumer market security has not been considered an issue with early generation connected home devices, as hackers have begun targeting these devices, the industry has begun to address this problem. New products and platform require access control, server authentication, data encryption, etc. Connected devices are able to glean important information about personally identifiable information (PII) like behavioural data and user preferences so preventing the misuse of this information is essential if the connected home is to become reality. The information gathered by these devices can be protected by anonymising the information and aggregating it so that original data is unobtainable.

With the gian tech companies striving to offer consumers adequate levels of security, it’s still basically up to the consumer to take responsibility for their own security when it comes to information of this type. If a customer does not keep his or her password safe, then there’s little a tech company can do to protect that user’s data.