Why The Internet of Things Scares Me

The Internet of things scares me.

Don’t get me wrong. The Internet of Things (IoT) has amazing potential. The engineer in me is always trying to automate parts of my job. Home automation will be fantastic. Then there is the sci-fi geek in me. The idea of having an automated home resembling a poor mans version of something Tony Stark would build gets me excited.

Yet, for all the promise there is something to be legitimately scared of.

The Hacked Home

Security and the Internet has turned into a problem. And, I’m not talking about the NSA or other governments.

It’s easy to look at all the websites being easily and regularly hacked. Just this past weekend Forbes website and Kickstarter were hacked. The hackers made off Personally Identifiable Information (PII) which has a lot of uses.

This isn’t what concerns me. I get concerned when it turns to my home. The place where I live. The place I let down my guard. They place my kids are growing up.

This goes beyond refrigerators or smart TVs sending out spam. This is an annoying pain but doesn’t go near the potential for bad things to happen.

The promise of the IoT is in electric outlets, light switches, door locks, music, appliances, and so much more. Now, imagine someone taking over your home. I don’t have to imagine this. I read about it last summer. There isn’t a potential for this to happen. It already has.

Prepare To Be Scared

So, someone who could be anywhere else in the world can hack your home. This moves beyond trolling the comments on a website or annoying someone in social media. Now a hacker can troll your home.

Or, if they hack your smart thermostat they can play with the temperature in your home and monitor when you come and go. If you have smart door locks they can unlock your home. I imagine thief’s will love this.

All of this could be done from China, Russia, Australia, Antarctica, or anywhere else there’s an Internet connection. The person hacking your home doesn’t have to live near you.

This is what scares me.

An Insecure Culture

I know people who work on the IoT and take security very seriously. I appreciate them and they give me hope it will be better in the future.

For every person building Internet things who cares and knows about security I know many more that don’t. In the past year I’ve found some rather serious issues in projects I’ve been asked to look at. I’ve had debates with others about even putting security into some places. I’ve lost count at the number of people who say no one will try to really hack their stuff so they don’t need to do much for security.

There is a culture problem with security and far to many of the early devices that have come to the market have reflected this.

I hope a day comes where I’m no longer worried about the IoT and homes being hacked.