The Comfort and Convenience of Technology Driven Appliances
As a preface to how appliances can actually be compromised and use as a cyberstalking tool so few things you need to know about how smart appliances work.
We also need to explain a few things about how these appliances are hacked why they’re hacked, and why smart appliances are valuable to hack in the first place?
Apparently in the case of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks it doesn’t matter so much the type of device under the hackers control but how many of them they have under their control.
One of the biggest vulnerabilities for any smart device is any password controls.
Smart devices for your home will need to connect with the internet. This means passing through your home network.
Smart devices will have the ability to change a password and we recommend this being the very first thing you do. Make it as long and complex as you can.
As far back as 2016, this showed itself as being an issue with certain devices having the passwords hard-coated into their firmware. This of course necessitated recalls fixes and updates to correct.
A Hacked Toaster
Some experiments done in 2016 by the Atlantic showed how even ate fake device setup to be connected to the internet to look like if it was real device to see how quick and how intense hacking attacks could happen.
Within the first hour it was probed followed by numerous DDoS attacks were on going afterwards.
Folks this is just a toaster, this type pf issue or a similar one can happen with your home assistant your vacuum cleaner or floor sweeper.
The Fridge that Does More than Keep your Veggies Crisp
Okay so as far back as 2015 man-in-the-middle attacks were an issue on Samsung smart fridges.
Apparently Samsung integrated the Gmail calendar with the display so you could get nifty reminders about when you need more eggs, when the milk goes bad etc…
Samsung did Implement SSL to secure the integration however, SSL security depends on to a validation meaning the refrigerator has to be able to validate that SSL for the SSL to actually work.
Samsung Smart fridges were not validating ssl’s on the device side.
This opened the opportunity for hackers to access the network and monitor activity for username and password used to connect the refrigerator to Gmail.
So that’s how hackers could get your fridge to do more than just keep your veggies crisp.
The Smart Home Could Be a Hacked Home
Before we share some things about Smart Homes you need to know when an iot device is.
And IoT device is any non standard Computing device which requires an internet connection via a network and has the ability to transmit data.
Most smart home devices from your floor sweepers refrigerators toasters coffeemakers TVs are IoT devices.
Many of these IoT devices that are installed in the home are set up and then forgotten. This set it then forget it mentality has allowed these devices to be vulnerable to hacks especially DDOS hacks.
Because all of these devices can then be recruited into armies of botnets and then used to attack yet other devices elsewhere that’s the significance of smart home devices being vulnerable to being hacked.
What to do about this?
Change the password from the default settings to something unique and complex. This includes more than just your smart devices and appliances for your home.
- Email accounts
- Gmail accounts
- Home network systems
- Security and surveillance systems for the home
- Gaming stations like PlayStation and Xbox
- Smart appliances
- Air conditioning & HVAC units
- Home assistants like Alexa
- Any smart toy that requires an internet connection
While you may not be able to stop all of the hacks… Just managing and maintaining stringent password controls on any device will at least slow them down. Make sure your passwords are all different lengthy and complex.
*Keep in mind that performance of appliances can also be adversely affected by this type of hacking.
One of the issues we have seen with this is regular household appliances with performance issues or that stop working altogether since they are driven by software.
So, if your repair technician comes across something they can’t figure out or reset, and you have been dealing with any type of cyber stalking be sure to check network security, device security, bluetooth access and any other point of entry your devices, appliances and household supports.*
For anyone who has dealt with a stalker this hopefully will help shine a light on what could otherwise be a blind spot to use against you.