Saturday, January 12, 2013

The connected home

This is an interesting infographic from TrendMicro.  It shows some of the household systems that can be internet connected, and what can happen if somebody happens to hack in to them.

But what about some other things they didn't mention?
  • Utility meters - gaining unauthorized access to electricity, gas or even water feeds could lead to several different homeowner problems.  At a minimum, incorrect usage levels could be reported back to the utility causing over billing headaches.  On the other end, the hacker could shut off the utility service completely.  If somebody in the home is dependent upon oxygen or some other medical device, it could potentially become life-threatening.  Even if nothing malicious is done, access to the usage data could provide hints as to when the house is unoccupied.
  • Comfort systems - I'm still not sure what the benefit to controlling comfort systems remotely really is.  Maybe it would be useful to be able to turn lights on/off periodically when you're not home so you can give the appearance of somebody there.  But when you are home, do you really want anyone outside the home fiddling with your lights?  Maybe just buy some simple light timers and call it even.  Then there is remote control of the HVAC system.  Here again, probably not something you want somebody outside the house messing with when you are home.  It could get even worse though when you're away for vacation.  If the thermostat setting was to be set extremely low or high, depending upon the season, not only could other systems in the house be damaged, but the HVAC systems themselves could be severely overworked, possibly leading to fire damage or complete mechanical failure.
  • Laptops, game systems and mobile devices - "smart" TVs aren't the only things with cameras and microphones in the house.  Remote access to any of these devices could lead to not only invasion of privacy, but potentially some embarrassing private moments.
  • Alarms and sensors - If access falls into the wrong hands, threshhold settings could be changed, rendering the sensors useless.  Same holds true if the sensors are remotely deactivated.  If the sensors alert incorrectly too many times, the monitoring company may impose extra charges on the homeowner.  I guess there is also the possibility of a malicious person running alarm tests in the middle of the night ... denial of sleep attack.