Scientists warn of security threats in 'smart' homes

Scientists warn of security threats in ‘smart’ homes


A group of researchers has warned of “alarming” dangers to security and personal privacy that are present in “smart” homes with internet-connected devices as well as mobile applications that collect data in an unintentional manner and analyze users. The habits or socioeconomic status of individuals

A team of researchers has arrived at this conclusion, led by IMDEA (Madrid Institute for Advanced Study) Networks and Northeastern University in Boston, with which various researchers from the United States, Canada, and the United States have also collaborated. IMDEA Software and the Carlos III University of Madrid

The researchers, who will publish their results this Thursday in Reports and Proceedings, have exposed the privacy and security holes that are being created by the rising number of “opaque” and technically advanced devices that form part of the “internet of things” (IoT) in homes that are becoming connected and where the use of telephones as well as smart televisions and virtual assistants has risen in popularity.

They include microphones, sensors, cameras, and other methods to monitor and track what is happening within homes, say researchers who have examined in depth the interactions of local networks with more than 93 devices linked to the Internet and apps. Mobile phones have been found to pose an “excessive” amount of danger to privacy and security.

The results of their research highlight the dangers caused by the accidental exposure of sensitive information to devices that comprise “the internet of things” within local networks due to the inadvertent use of communication protocols by these devices. This could expose names and even “universal unique identifyr” (also known as geolocation of the household) information, which can be gathered by the marketing and digital data industries without the users even realizing it.

According to the research, any metadata or identifier (the hardware unique address, that universal unique identifier, or the device’s unique name) can be used to identify an individual home; however, the combination of many of them makes a home distinct and easily identifiable. Globally, it is.

Local network protocols are employed in the form of “side channels” to gain access to information that is intended to be protected under various permissions within the Android OS, including home addresses.

IMDEA Networks associate professor Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, who is co-author of the study, confirmed thatside channels” are e “stealth” methods of accessing sensitive information and provided an example of how Android application developers need to ask permissions from the system. To obtain consent from users to access data, such as geolocation data.

However, research has shown that certain “spy” software and firms use networks to quietly access sensitive information without the user noticing it.

Juan Tapiador, deputy director of the Department of Informatics at the Carlos III University of Madrid The study has revealed that the local network protocols utilized for devices that connect to the Internet “are not adequately protected and leak sensitive data regarding our home and the usage of our devices” and warned that the information “is being gathered in a way that is not clear and allows us to make profiles of our behavior or socioeconomic status.”

The impact of this research is not limited to academics, as per the researchers, who have emphasized the necessity for manufacturers as well as software developers, operators of mobile and connected devices, and regulators to adopt measures to enhance security and privacy safeguards. of security at home They have disclosed the issues to the manufacturers of these devices, as well as the security teams of a few of the tech giants.