Hackers could be hijacking your gadgets to gain access to your network, experts warn
You may not have noticed it, but your home, and the world around you, is getting ever more smart and connected to the world around it.
Technology companies involved in the Internet of Things are releasing more and more connected products which they say will make our lives smoother and easier to control.
But now it seems that these smart products may actually be lacking in a rather important department.
The biggest cyber-attacks, hacks and data breaches Wed, March 15, 2017
From viruses to data breaches, cyber-crime is far from a modern invention – here is Express.co.uk's list of some of the biggest attacks in history.
Play slideshow GETTY 1 of 13
Google's Chinese operations were targeted in 2009
At the recent Kaspersky Analyst Summit in St Maarten, Express.co.uk spoke to David Jacoby, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, who had a dire warning about the state of smart home protection available today.
Jacoby warns that many smart home products on the market today are severely lacking in proper security protection, leaving your house open to attack from criminals.
Hackers are able to ‘dial in’ to smart home products such as internet routers and even smart fridges to hijack their computing power, with the recent Mirai botnet affecting billions of devices around the world.
There are a huge range of smart connected devices available on the market today
Jacob is no stranger to the lax state of smart home security, as two years ago, he carried out an experiment that saw him successfully hack and hijack the entirety of his fairly large smart device family in his home.
The hacked products included offerings from several big names vendors, showing the worrying state of smart home technology security.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
However, it seems that in the time since then, not much has improved.
"Nothing has changed,” Jacoby told Express.co.uk, adding that many ‘smart’ products are in fact in danger as soon as you buy them in a shop.
That’s because the support lifecycle of connected devices is about six months to a year – and that's after the device has been built production, not after when you bought the TV at the store, or when you put it in your home.
"You can buy a brand-new TV or connected device at a store, and that device might not even be supported anymore,” Jacoby added, "There's no patch – it doesn't exist!”
"(Vendors) release new products so fast, meaning that even if something is brand new for you, it won't be for them.”
Smart, connected TV sets are a particular security worry
The security problem is heightened by the fact that most manufacturers of new smart products are not security experts.
In an incredibly fast-paced and changing market, getting your product out and into stores can be the difference between success and failure – even if that means cutting corners in testing.
Jacoby highlights smart TVs as one particular problem area. On average, people buy a new television every five years, meaning that any vulnerabilities are likely to affect a wide number of devices and be found in woefully outdated hardware.
But are the manufacturers to blame? After all, they are in the entertainment business, and as Jacoby notes, all they want to do is get you to watch TV, not to focus on IT security – which leads to a major problem.
So what can be done to address the issue?
Jacoby says that he would “love” to see better regulation on smart connected products – “but I don't think it will happen in the near future”
“It’s mainly about responsibility,” he says, “the vendors need to take more responsibility in adding those extra security layers.”
"There will always be some kind of problem with these products – that's just kind of a fact, but if you remove the really simple, really trivial stuff, that would help a lot.”