Does Home Automation Make Hackers The New Burglars?

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Isn’t it weird how intelligent humans are making intelligent machines that, in fact, make humans less intelligent and more lazy? I don’t know. I’m not against technology but sometimes I question if it is really for our good – which is good, someone has to. You get my drift? For instance, take the case of automated home security systems – is it really better than being responsible enough to lock your deadbolt?

At the DefCon Hacking Conference 2010, an independent security researcher showed how he was easily able to hack automated home and business automation security systems that operated through power lines. He said that, “None of the manufacturers have implemented really any security whatsoever on these devices… it’s such an immature technology.”

Have these automated security systems improved since then?

Before anything else, let’s discuss what an automated house is. Home automation is the use of a computer or a mobile device to control some basic functions of your house. These functions generally include your security system, lights, scheduled air conditioning, water sprinkling, TV and other electric appliances.

Because of the term “automated” most people are eliminating burglars who only use their brute-burly-man muscles to force our houses open as a threat. The biggest threat now to automated security systems are actually hackers.

The risk of these automated systems is that they’re connected to the internet. “But I have a password that only I know, so hackers still can’t get into my house, right?” Wrong! Hacking passwords is a piece of cake for these cyber criminals. You have to look for the assurance of your home security beyond authentication processes.

Consider these sentiments before switching to an automated security system:

  • Almost all things connected to the internet are “hackable”.

It’s one thing for hackers to gain access of your Facebook account, but it gets totally serious when they gain access and control of your house. Not only are your belongings in danger, but so are your very lives.

  • Advanced Security Systems are a tell that you have something valuable inside your house

“All security alarms do is let a decent thief know that you have something worth stealing, and give the owners a false sense of security. Get a dog, a gun, and insurance. The dog and the gun are for when you are there, the insurance is for when you aren’t.”

  • If your security cameras are hacked, cybercriminals will know when you’re not home – making your house an easy target after disabling your security system.

However, it’s not right to just focus on the disadvantages of automated systems because they’re actually super cool!

Did you know that there are light bulbs with their own IP Addresses! Yeah. They’re a product from Green Wave Reality. So, why do they need their own IP Address again? According to the CEO, “Essentially, the lights include chips that give each bulb an Internet IP address so they can be monitored and controlled wirelessly online”. Um, ok.

Have you ever heard of the guy named Tom Coates? – ‘cause I haven’t. Anyway, this is was so interested in “The Internet of Things” that his house even tweets. Yes, a house that tweets! – which was actually why I started writing this article in the first place.  His house tweets everything that happens. Like lights being turned off, and whenever someone leaves the house. So I thought, “isn’t that dangerous?” Because burglars, well at least burglars on the internet, will know when you’ve left the house.

Anyway, in conclusion, it is true that automated home security does bring us to the risk of hackers slash burglars. But even without these systems, we are still at constant risk anyway. But added security with these cool systems wouldn’t hurt. – which brings me to one of my favourite quotes from Horace, “Who can hope to be safe? Who sufficiently cautious? Guard himself as he may, every moment’s an ambush.”

Author Bio:

Lara Chamley is head of security at one of Melbourne’s luxury apartment villages. She conducts a yearly talk on home security and has recently started a business training women self-defense.