The Misbehaving Smart Home

How secure is the technology behind the internet of things? Are the devices in our homes safe from outside hackers? What would it look like if you home wasn’t secured?

A lot of hackers are like graffiti artists, they create for the sake of creating without doing a whole lot of damage. Other hackers look to make money or just wreak havoc from within systems. I think we’ll see a bit of both, hackers that that want you to know they were there and those that want to profit from your tech or cause serious damage.

The first set of hackers will look to tweak the settings on your central air, your television set, your stereo and anything else that’s connected. I can imagine him turning on and off your Philips Hue light bulb in a specific pattern, or turning your television up to the maximum volume, maybe even opening and closing your garage door repeatedly.


So these are pretty harmless but what are some of the more dangerous hacks? I can see a virus within the server that runs your home automation. Your corrupted server will do everything from mining bitcoins as part of a zombie network to sending out spam messages to acting as a vector to infect other home servers.

Again, he might open your garage door and let himself into your home, disarm your surveillance camera and shut off your security system. While he’s rooting through your computer files for social security numbers and other sensitive information he’s also unplugging your central server and taking it as well as your television, stereo and anything else of value.

A robbery, as terrible as it is, isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Nefarious hackers can do much worse if you’re house is well connected, possibly causing death and destroying your home. How? Great question but I’m certain it’s not impossible.

How do we safeguard against this? If you’re going to automate your home use a standard that a majority of manufacturers have agreed upon (which at the moment is ZigBee). Also, keep your systems up to date and follow recommended security procedures. Finally, use common sense and don’t fall for third party attempts to secure your personal info.

So, are you going to die from someone hacking your Roomba? Probably not but keep in mind, the more you automate the more you have to be concerned about. Be smart about it.


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