27 September 2023

Plugged in: How IoT networks are leaving smart appliances exposed

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Max Moeller* says the number of devices being plugged into the Internet of Things are exposing home networks more than we might think.

Photo: Ernest Brillo

You probably didn’t think that installing the latest smart fridge would leave your home open to hacks.

However, these and other devices plugged into the Internet of Things (IoT) economy are exposing home networks more than you might think.

More specifically, smart security cameras are the biggest risk in many homes.

Cybersecurity company SAM Seamless Network reports that these devices are hacked into more than any other smart device.

The group found that these cameras make up 47 per cent of the most vulnerable devices when it comes to home networks, with smart hubs such as Alexa or Google Home following close behind.

The company also notes that a majority of these attacks come from China and the United States.

Conversely, these two spaces are also the biggest targets of these attacks.

In fact, citizens with smart devices suffer an average of five attempted attacks per device per day.

Not so smart after all

It appears that the cameras most vulnerable are IP cameras — or cameras that act as their own server — reports ZDNet.

Of course, this heightened visibility leaves them even more open to attack.

The real threat, however, is to any additional devices on the network.

Since everything connects via the internet, access to one device leads to access to all devices.

Network centralisation is the real problem here.

Unless you’re a widespread enterprise that can afford the latest in network security, your group of smart devices won’t be well-protected.

But adoption is very real, with more and more people bringing in Alexa and other devices into their homes every day.

Blockchain-based IoT networks are one solution that could benefit both small homes and big business.

Famously “unhackable”, a decentralised smart device network — courtesy of the blockchain — would keep your smart devices safe from threats.

(That’s not to mention scalability for enterprise use and high-level encryption for data transfers.)

A decentralised solution for the Internet of Things

Say that you build a smart contract network on Ethereum.

You run a big office building full of smart lights, fridges, and more.

Thanks to smart contracts, on/off phases, temperatures, and more could all be automated — and immutability means there’s always an activity log to look back on and see what happened.

Replacing a cloud network is no easy task, but companies would save on high network costs in the long run.

While not a perfect solution, it would prevent exposed homes and ensure users don’t have to pay for top-of-the-line smart devices just to keep their information secure.

* Max Moeller is a freelance writer and content creator. His website is maxemole.com.

This article first appeared at beincrypto.com.

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