4 Ways That Smart Homes Are Vulnerable

August 20th, 2020



There have been a lot of changes for residents in Reno, NV, the most recent of which is the unfortunate spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The change has made many people follow new guidance, like working from home when possible. 

One new development in home life for residents of Reno, NVis the adoption of “smart home” technology. A “smart home” is a home that uses many different “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices that are all connected to a home network to allow more convenience. In some ways, this has resulted in drops in crime in some sectors, as smart home devices can make a property more physically secure. In other ways, however, smart homes create their own vulnerability factors, and here are four of the most common.

Failing To Secure Devices

This is, for many homeowners, the #1 cause of an insecure smart home. Every device that is connected to a home network can be enabled for safe, specific security access. But to so initially, default passwords and other mechanisms are pre-installed in the system and described in the owner’s manual.

Some owners never change these default passwords. So if a technologically proficient thief is “in range” of such a device, and experimentally enters the default password, control of that device is seized.

Overprivileged Access

Different devices are designed to do different things, and that means they require specific access. However, some devices will ask for far more access than they actually require. A “smart garage” as one example, may only need to access the garage door itself to open it. It does not need to access or gain control of security cameras, nor does it need to know the location of a phone the garage door app is tied to.

However, some devices do gain access to this type of information. In such cases, that means something as innocuous as the app to unlock a home’s door can grant access to other parts of the house if control is gained.

Insecure Communications

For a smart home to work, the devices must be able to communicate with each other. However, some communication systems are not secure, and information that travels along these insecure lines can be monitored externally.

So, for example, a wireless speaker in the home only needs to send and receive information relating to how much battery life is left in the device for people that want to check this by phone. However, with an improperly secured messaging system, this device is capable of reading any message sent out by the phone, or other devices, including PINs and other sensitive data.

Failure To Update Firmware

All devices have operating systems installed to guide their function, known as “firmware.” Sometimes, however, vulnerabilities are discovered in the existing firmware that would allow people on the outside to seize control of that device.

When these firmware vulnerabilities are discovered, a new firmware version is issued that eliminates the security flaw. People that fail to update their firmware to the latest version are risking known vulnerabilities in a device being exploited.

For a safer home in Reno, NV, let us help. Contact us for more information.

Call 775-878-6534