Panorama program about security risks with the Internet of things

Home Internet Security

On May 14th, 2018 BBC’s Panorama highlighted security vulnerabilities in people’s homes. It showed white hat hackers accessing home systems using a laptop in a van parked nearby and gaining access to the smart devices in the house. These included a smart television, lighting, curtains, central heating and a printer and they were able to order an iPad using the TV to access Alexa.

Another family had installed security cameras throughout the house but were unaware that these were viewable by complete strangers over the internet. In one case a camera had been viewed for 9 hours by someone in France. There were cameras found online which were monitoring babies sleeping and viewable by anyone. Watching other peoples, CCTV is not even illegal.

To watch the program on iPlayer follow this link.

Panorama, Hacked: Smart Home Secrets: via @bbciplayer

Many of these products are designed to be low cost, and commercial pressures to get them to market can mean cutting corners. Security is less tangible than features so is an area likely to be inadequate. Companies also want to reduce their costs so don’t want to handle user support issues as that costs them money. The result is default settings are usually set to plug and play, and it will work but it unlikely to be secure.

Most of these products need regular firmware updates which are released by manufacturers to fix security problems and improve functionality. Some manufacturers don’t bother as it is another cost and if something serious is discovered, they say the product is “end of life”.

Most low-cost home products are made in the Far East and rebadged by other companies. Getting support for these is unlikely.

When buying products for the Internet of Things carefully research what you are buying, check if good quality documentation is available in your language. Check if support is available if you have problems and if the company releases firmware updates for its products. The cheapest is unlikely to have any of these things. Change any default passwords and make sure your devices are not making outbound connections by checking your routers firewall logs.

We off security audits for homes in the Leighton Buzzard area and can carry out any work necessary.

For help securing your home network

Please use the Contact us page or call us on 01525540041 or 02033271747

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