SMART HOME SURGERY

YOUR CON­NECTED HOME QUERIES AN­SWERED BY T3’ S EX­PERTS

Australian T3 - - HOME -

Our panel of connnected home ex­perts are here to an­swer your ques­tions

SI­MON W., BRIS­BANE

Is my home more hack­able with smart home tech? CHRIS HASLAM REPLIES… In a word, yes. You see, any net­work-con­nected smart gad­get or home ap­pli­ance that uses pin codes and pass­words is sus­cep­ti­ble. A re­cent project by the Univer­sity of Michi­gan and Mi­crosoft found it was pos­si­ble to do all sorts to Sam­sung’s SmartThings server, such as open­ing smart locks through mal­ware and app weak­nesses.

The po­ten­tial for IoT hack­ers is enor­mous, but if you treat your smart home kit in the same way you do your in­ter­net and bank­ing se­cu­rity – so time to change that 1234 pin, peo­ple! – you will be safe enough. Ap­ple’s Home Kit data, for in­stance, is tied to your iCloud ac­count, which never uses a de­fault pass­word, plus Ap­ple vets and re­views the se­cu­rity of all de­vices be­fore they get ap­proval any­way. Sim­i­larly, Ne­tatmo uses all sorts of su­per top-level en­cryp­tion, in­clud­ing AES 256-bit and Trans­port Layer Se­cu­rity (TLS).

As with any­thing con­nected, the most im­por­tant thing you can do is to set strong (and unique!) pass­words for all de­vices, in­clud­ing your router; al­ways change them from the de­fault set­tings and buy gear from big­ger, more es­tab­lished IoT brands. It’s also im­por­tant to keep the soft­ware and as­so­ci­ated apps up­dated.

We’re not overly con­cerned by smart home hack­ing and have yet to see much point in hack­ing a stranger’s heat­ing or re­motely com­man­deer­ing their ro­bot vac­uum. But the thought of some­one spy­ing on a video baby mon­i­tor, how­ever un­likely, creeps us out.

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