Smart Home Technology Could Open The Door To Hackers

Wednesday, October 26th 2016, 10:53 pm
By: News On 6

If you have access to anything in your home remotely from your cell phone, then there's a chance that someone else could have access to it.

Making life simpler is the promise of a new wave of hi-tech smart devices for your house, but, they can also be an inviting open door to hackers targeting your family.

It's the new trend for homeowners - running your home from anywhere you are.

The technology ranges from moderately priced devices that are easy to install, all the way up to high-end homes with the technology built in.

It makes running a home more efficient, cost effective, and safe; the only problem, when it comes to technology, is if you're watching, someone else could be too.

CBS News: Keeping "Smart Homes" Safe From Hackers

"I think the thing we should all consider is what is the worst thing that could happen if someone gained access to this device," said assistant professor of computer science at TU, Mauricio Papa.

Papa specializes in network security, particularly for what is called the "internet of things," which includes smart home automation.

"It's very convenient, we all want it, it's there, it's easy, we all need to make sure it's done securely," he said.

The smart home devices can do a range of things, like tell you what's inside your fridge, what kind of energy footprint you make and keep tabs on your habits.

Connell Curran with Cobblestone homes works with some of the higher end smart appliances; one home he’s worked on in the Tulsa Hills area is already set up with a smart oven, security system and thermostat.

"My clients just like to know, ‘Hey, did I shut my garage door, I was in a hurry, did I check that?’ Or, ‘Is my alarm on? Oh, it's not on, I can lock my house up,’" he said.

"If someone gained access to a light switch in a room then the worst thing that they could do is turn the lights on and off that may not sound like much, but what if it's a camera or a door lock on your door? And someone gains access to it," Papa said. “But you only need one smart person who can do that."

Simple IP addresses to things like cameras can be easily hacked and posted to websites where anyone can click on the camera feed and make it like their own surveillance Netflix account.

Papa said the likelihood of your devices getting hacked all depends on your network; simple devices operating solely on your Wi-Fi are the most vulnerable, however, the more sophisticated the device the more likely it is to have a stronger network; and the stronger the network. the harder to hack.

Papa said securing the devices is becoming more and more necessary.

"The technology is there to secure them, and I think there's awareness right now in the community that we need to do everything we can to make them secure," he said.

For homeowners, the professor recommends checking with the company about network security or using a home automation installation company that can set up your own network, like Kazar here in Tulsa.

As for things hooked to Wi-Fi, Papa said to be mindful because anything over Wi-Fi can be compromised.

Last week, hackers knocked several major websites offline including Twitter, Amazon and Netflix.