Cybersecurity and its impact on the home

November 23, 2021  |  Karoline Gore
This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

The digital society is ever-expanding, and with that has come an ever-increasing risk of cyber attack. This is a factor coming more and more into focus, with the rate and strength of cyberattacks set to continue escalating according to one Al Jazeera report. A further risk vector is becoming apparent through the smart home - more and more people are making their home a natural extension of the digital world, and placing a lot of reliance on the web and smart tech. This poses a huge cybersecurity risk to the population as a whole, and one that needs to be countenanced against the obvious benefits smart tech provides.

Facing the challenge

Digital tech has, of course, done a lot of good. Consider the experience of people living with disabilities when it comes to the web. As CNBC rightly outlines, the internet is already only semi-accessible when it comes to people living with disability. The use of technology to help bridge this gap has been enormously helpful. The internet of things in particular has provided opportunities to safeguard vulnerable people; it can help to act as an early warning device for family members or carers, and can help to provide an extra level of independence through smart devices. That smart tech can help to build inclusion in society at all levels makes it something to be cherished - however, the risks of such tech and their vulnerabilities need to be accepted and addressed.

IoT vulnerabilities

The IoT relies on data-sharing. It requires fast and free transmission of information to be worthwhile. This makes them susceptible to attack, and as ZDNet outlines, there have been countless new vulnerability exploiting tools constructed just to attack the IoT. The purpose of this is multi-faceted. Taking control of a private network can turn it to nefarious means, or be used to extract financial information. More malicious actors may even want to control IoT devices to cause material harm - such events are not unheard of when it comes to smart energy meters in particular. Being aware of these vulnerabilities and proactively moving against them is crucial in the cyberactive home.

Key principles

The principles that will make the home secure are the same that are used in business. Firstly, always keep software up to date - firmware included. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the admin login of various devices and networks to ensure you’re getting everything ticked off. Use higher level security protocols, like WAP2, on wireless networks. Authentication is key - you need to be assured that only the right people are using your networks. A great way of achieving this is through multi factor authentication, according to Forbes. That can mean setting up IoT devices to require the use of a phone number whenever they’re being logged in, or a new device is being linked to them. This also has the benefit of showing you when someone has tried, and failed, to gain entry to any one item on the network.

The key is in asserting your identity. Hackers and other malicious actors like to get in behind secure systems by pretending they’re supposed to be there - obviously, they’re not. By setting up private digital systems and networks in such a way that it can only be you to be logging on - or friends and family that are given access, too - the entire network can develop a sense of assurance that you might not otherwise have. This is crucial in the modern day, where the risks of ever-expanding digital adoption become more and more nuanced.


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