Daily Archives: April 18, 2017

Are Your Communications Secure?

Smart Home Hackers: What Agents Should Know

In this week’s real estate selling tips: Is smart home technology putting you and your clients at risk? Purported to bring convenience, security, and improved connectivity, smart services are instead bringing unauthorized surveillance, loss of privacy, and compromised data, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).

What’s the IoT?
The combined/synergistic use of mobile apps, cloud storage, big data, automation, sensors, and more, attached to everyday items, processes and systems, part-and-parcel of everything from your phone and laptop to your TV, appliances, door locks, and security. Case(s) and point(s): Recent WikiLeaks on the CIA’s (and other hackers’) ability to spy on you via TV – not to mention last October’s massive, internet service disrupting, distributed DDoS attack.

The IoT-DDoS Conundrum
Each of these devices relies on the cloud to operate, either for analysis or as a communications path to other devices, forming a “botnet” of devices. But there is no magical “cloud” – only someone else’s computer, such as company Dyn’s DNS system – the one hacked last October. Protection of botnets, to date, is woefully insufficient, and devices are so prolific that if a mere portion of those in homes were comprised, it could prove disastrous. The best protection? Keeping these devices out, as even password-protected gadgets are NOT secure, and informing clients of smart home risks.

Isn’t Technology Grand?
The magic of the cloud comes at a price…. Continual transfer of personal data (habits, speech, possessions) funneled away to an assortment of third parties is a privacy rabbit hole that leads to technological nightmares.

  • A 2016 Nest’s smart thermostat glitch caused batteries to drain, leaving consumers without heat – in January – with no way to turn it back on. The fix: Nine-steps, included a 3-hour charge-cycle.
  • Samsung’s smart refrigerator photograph contents – great if you lost your shopping list; bad for advertising your prescriptions – and allowing insurers to peruse your dietary choices.
  • Beware of “smart’ tech terms of service, which limits damages, prohibits class action lawsuits, and requires resolution via arbitration.

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