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The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

Posted October 21, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

All too often, the designers of wearable and smart home devices overlook vital security measures, exposing consumers to privacy and safety threats. In this article, the Online Trust Alliance highlights the "glaring failures" found in these systems, covering issues like network pairing control, common code injection exploits, transport security, and encrypted storage.


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#1

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/21/2016 2:03 PM

Is anybody surprised by this? Many things are rushed to market to capture the dollar first, patch the vulnerabilities later (if ever).

Aside from the fact that humans have lived quite comfortably in dumb homes with heat, A/C, and indoor plumbing for many decades.

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#2

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/21/2016 2:36 PM

Like I told my kid when he thought using a calculator to 'fudge' his homework assignments instead of "learning" what he was doing: "What are you gonna do when the battery dies?"

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#3

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/21/2016 5:08 PM

I've heard many accounts of newer public buildings being fitted with all smart control over everything.

You can get some pretty weird major issues when the system glitches or freezes up and wont reset being light switches are no longer actually directly tied to the lights they are controlling.

The local school project I have referred to in a number of thread had that problem. The majority of the lights inside and out were on at 100% power permanently because no one could program the system. Dimmable Smart LED lighting isn't really a energy saver if you have zero control over the dimming or shutting down aspect of it.

Same with the HVAC systems. Either you get no heat or AC or you get 100% with no way to directly control either and with room by room zoning you had a fair chance of both being on at the same time or 100% heat in one room and 100% AC in the next followed by several others that didn't have anything.

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#4

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/21/2016 11:53 PM

OTA is, " an informal industry group ", that costs anywhere from$10,000-$50,000 to join. Like any club, the more you, " Donate ", the more privileges you get.

It looks like the string pullers are all of computer stuff makers and all of the participants are of the computer stuff users.

Of course, if you want to make a, " Donation " , you can, then you get to use the OTA logo on your website, not like it's gonna help anything with your sales, but it provide some chit-chat around the water cooler.

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#5

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/22/2016 7:31 AM

I can't wait for all of the smart cars that will be on the road with similar characteristics. And all of the smart people in the government trying to "nudge" me to junk recycle my current vehicle and get one of them.

jhammond

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#6

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/22/2016 11:03 PM

Honestly, I hate to be the political curmudgeon on this topic.

The insistence of Amerikan police to be able to "one day" pry into any router, computer, or appliance to gain any data on any past or future criminal activity has left us with backdoors everywhere. This article quickly brings to my mind the idea that Philip K. Dick was an optimist.

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#7

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/23/2016 7:43 AM

The internet attacks in the news recently are thought to have been carried out by hacking these very devices.

"And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic."

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/22/business/internet-problems-attack.html?_r=0

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/23/2016 10:16 AM

This sounds like a Daisy Chain. I know an IT guy, I asked him a couple of years ago if it would be possible to co-connect multiple home p/c mother boards, network interfaces and routers to increase or multiply computing power. ( We were talking about how when one o/s becomes unsupported, we could buy these units for a fraction of their cost ).

Is it possible that someone has figured out how to do just this ?

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/25/2016 1:58 AM

Yeah its called computer clusters. Where have you been living the last 20 years?

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/25/2016 10:48 AM

Where have you been living the last 20 years ?

Although I am interested in a great many things, I can't keep up with everything everywhere.

That's one of the Joy's of a forum such as this, it allows a great many people, from a great many different occupations, backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs to interact.

Personally, I have noticed that my understanding of things has grown and my desire to learn even more has increased.

I am thankful that I have encountered people here that have been patient with my shortcomings and yet have taken the time to assist in my learning process.

Hopefully, others have the same feelings.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/25/2016 10:54 PM

Now it seems the IT boy you talked to has not heard of a computer cluster either.

I put the link in for your reference and use.

Cheers IS

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/26/2016 6:57 AM

Why use the word, " boy " . Why not use the word, " guy ", like I did. Was that an oversight or intentional ?

Going back to the IT guy,,

I said ; we talked about it.

I didn't say that he didn't know what a computer cluster was.

We talked about using separate computers to perform individual functions or calculations.

When I thought of that idea, I did not know that somebody, somewhere was already doing that very thing.

He told me that people had been doing that for a long time.

At that time, I was involved in other things, I didn't follow it through.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/26/2016 11:03 PM

Oversight!

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/25/2016 11:13 AM

An additional problem of computer clusters is that instead of being used in a denial of service attack they can be used in a "brute force" hack of the password to a system.

IMHO It should be mandated that a "smart" device in the default password state should be crippled to the point of being almost useless. Now if we can only figure out who has the authority to mandate?

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: The Dangers Facing Smart Homes

10/26/2016 6:29 AM

Simple answer : no one.

That is, until governments get into the computer manufacturing business.

Keyword: Almost. The device may be denied function control, but it would still need to be password enabled.

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