Protecting Your Smart Home, and Why You Should Never Drop $5000 for a Toilet

MVI Smart Home SecurityA research team at the University of Michigan would like Smart Homes to check their privilege (but not in the politically correct way). The team analyzed Samsung’s SmartThings platform in an extensive project and determined that about 55% of the applications available have too much access to devices, all applications have access to the whole device, and the applications are not particularly well secured. In short, the apps have too much privilege and should be secured. Unfortunately for the Smart Home user, this makes them susceptible to thermostat revenge, stalking, and strangers grousing at their children. Also, lightbulb sabotage exists. As does toilet hacking.

So, what to do if you wish to make your home super smart? For starters, smart devices typically come with default passwords. Change them. Secure your router with one of those annoying passwords that have dollar signs and capital letters. Stash your devices under the bed and update software frequently (don’t actually hide the devices under the bed. The idea is to prevent easy tampering in the event of suspicious persons sneaking around your house). If this makes you feel like you’re in a war zone, just wait until some prankster makes your $5000 toilet spray you. Then it’s on.

The important thing to keep in mind, if nothing else, is that every additional connected device is another door for a hacker to kick down. So, more security and passwords and encryption and other such things are always a good way to go. As a backup measure, should you be feeling paranoid, there are also websites floating around (insecam.com, for example) where you can stare at badly secured security cameras and watch the world go by. You might find yourself finding yourself.