Last weekend, when most Americans were attempting to take advantage of Black Friday discounts, hackers in South Korea perpetrated what is arguably the most destructive attack in the history of smart home technology. The anonymous hackers took photos and videos from over 700 different apartment complexes and held them for ransom or sold them for Bitcoin outright.
The entire episode is the stuff of nightmares, bringing to life anxieties about the smart home business and what it means to let cameras and other recording devices into the house without adequate precautions.
Does this imply that you should turn off all of your electronics? Certainly not. This latest hack is the result of a series of mishaps. Because many of the impacted apartment complexes were connected by a single subnet, hackers only needed to breach a few firewalls to get access to the whole structure. Many buildings in South Korea have built-in smart home technology, which was the focus of the assault.
In the United States, you have a firewall through your router. All of your smart home devices have layers of protection that make them difficult to penetrate. While there is no such thing as a hack-proof device, the chance of someone actually breaking into your smart home devices is highly unlikely.
Smart houses have already been hacked.
Hackers have broken into smart home technology before. In 2018, a hacker contacted a man and — nicely, if you want a silver lining — informed him that his information was vulnerable. He did so through the man’s Nest IQ Cam.
In late 2019, a woman went to the CBSN Los Angeles station because someone had hacked into her Ring security camera and made explicit comments toward her. Another instance took place in that same period, but this time the hackers were speaking to an eight-year-old girl in her bedroom.
The situation grew dire enough that a class-action lawsuit was filed against Ring in 2020 to force the company to address the problem.
Even under the best of circumstances, such experiences are horrifying. Even if it isn’t malicious, a faulty piece of code may cause havoc with how smart homes operate. Eufy mistakenly revealed to customers the inside of other people’s houses earlier this year. This mistake happened during a software update, according to the firm, and was soon fixed.
There have been other instances, too. Google came under scrutiny for sending its Google Assistant recordings to a third-party company for transcription. While the company uses this information to improve the responsiveness and understanding of its smart assistant, users have an expectation of privacy that wasn’t met.
What can you do?
Even though instances like this are incredibly rare, it’s still unsettling to think about. You aren’t powerless against a malicious hack, though. There are steps you can take to better secure your smart home and reduce the likelihood that anyone will gain access to your network.
Companies that make smart home devices have already made efforts to secure their products. Many firms have introduced voluntary two-factor authentication, while others have made it mandatory to utilize the device. This is typically all that is required to lock someone out of a device, and the greatest thing is that it is simple to do.
More and more companies are coming around to the idea that physical privacy shutters are a must-have with regard to security cameras. Its one thing to be able to disable the camera from within the app, but a solid piece of plastic blocking the lens brings more peace of mind.
Enabling two-factor authentication and using cameras that allow you to physically disable the lens are two easy steps, but that’s not all you can do.Home Automation >> News & Updates >> Another reason to protect your home is this South Korean smart home hack