Home automation has blossomed in the 21st century. Often called a “smart home,” a house automation system will control lighting, climate, entertainment devices, and appliances typically from a central hub. Essentially smart home automation is to make residents’ lives easier and the home more efficient. Think robot vacuum cleaners and automated thermostat control.
In addition to home automation devices, many smart homes have security systems installed. Video doorbells and indoor and outdoor surveillance add another level to smart home technology. You can often control these systems from an app on your smartphone.
When connected to the Internet, home devices are an important component of the Internet of Things – a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs), and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Problems with Home Automation
One of the main issues with home automation is a lack of technical standards and a wide variety of devices, making the task of developing applications that work consistently between different technologies difficult.
The nature of home automation devices can also be a problem for security since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices. One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active devices vulnerable.
Some of the flaws in these systems could be misused by an attacker to perform MitM attacks, eavesdrop on the victim, create backdoors, or gain root access to some of the devices and their contents. In worst-case scenarios, these issues could even allow attackers to take control over the central units and all peripheral devices connected to them.
How can you protect yourself and your home from potential attacks?
Your WiFi router is essentially the front door to your house. And just like your actual front door, you want to make sure you have it locked up tight to prevent intruders. Start by giving your router a unique name – don’t go with what the manufacturer named it when it came out of the box.
Next, use a strong encryption method like WPA2 for your WiFi. Then, change any default user names or passwords that came with home automation devices. For instance, just got a new Roomba vacuum cleaner? Give it a new name when you hook it up.
When setting up passwords, choose something strong, with a variety of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t make it easy for hackers. Also, use a two-step authentication – like a code texted to your phone – and keep your software up to date.
Home automation can be a great thing to add to your home. Just make sure you do proper research on the products you select and take the appropriate measures to tighten security on your devices.