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Wednesday, 21 August 2019 12:28

Smart home devices at risk of attacks by hackers Featured

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The deployment of smart home IoT devices may pose risks of attacks by hackers, according to a new report which forecasts that the number of smart home devices is expected to increase globally at a compound annual growth rate of 16.9% until 2023.

And by 2023 there will have been nearly 1.6 billion smart home devices shipped, according to the report from Trend Micro.

Trend Micro says the smart home device forecast is in line with the continuing adoption of the Internet of things (IoT) in homes around the world - and with the proliferation of various smart devices that either supersede or supplement regular home appliances and fixtures - and the expansion of these devices’ feature sets.

But, according to Trend Micro not all users have adequate knowledge of the IoT devices they connect to their home networks - much less of the security issues that may arise from the use of these devices.

“This can account for the emergence of a new breed of cyberthreats that have varying, often unforeseen consequences,” the report warns.

“Fortunately, contrary to how cybercrime is commonly portrayed in the media, hackers do not compromise devices in mere seconds,” the report observes.

“In real-world scenarios, hackers spend weeks working within just the router systems, doing reconnaissance and research.

“All that time is spent in preparation for the day when they can spring into action and deal an attack on compromised devices. Knowing the threats to specific IoT devices and understanding their impact can help impress on users the need for a strong security stance when it comes to managing smart homes.

“This means taking a look at the wide range of smart home devices that may be vulnerable. These very devices can work against the convenience of users and turn into tools for compromise and disruption instead,” the report concludes.

Trend Micro lists some devices it says may pose a greater risk than others, including:

  • Smart locks – unlock the house for intruders to easily enter; lock out users or residents and block the house remotely, or change the lock password remotely
  • Smartwatches – spoof the user’s smartphone from the smartwatch; steal the user’s health data; send fake text messages from the smartwatch
  • Smart toys – record the voices of the toy’s players and leak the recordings online, or use the toy to gain access to the home network
  • Smart vacuum – track the home layout or monitor room activities remotely which can lead to planning further activities and movement

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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