Connected Homes Need Better Security, Says Study

By Ken Briodagh June 16, 2015

Over the last decade, home environments have gotten more digitally advanced and now, many are progressing into communication-rich living spaces. As a result of this growth, consumers are getting a host of new smart products and opportunities for experiences, including in energy management, interactive home devices, connected appliances and real time security solutions. And that is great, except that all this connectivity has left an open door for security risks, according to a Frost & Sullivan research project, commissioned by the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA).

The project came about because of ongoing discussions on industry issues among CABA members, through its Connected Home Council (CHC), that seemed to emphasize the need for security against potential connected home threats. But despite members’ reservations surrounding connectedness, they aren’t reporting any doubts about the strength of the emerging and fast-growing connected building market as it expands to combine connected home, workspace and city.

“Connected homes are prime examples of innovative applications of technology that usher in new convenience for consumers,” said Ronald J. Zimmer, President and CEO, CABA. “Industry, however, has acknowledged that associated with such convenience is risk. CABA is therefore pleased to commission a research project that will provide industry with insightful intelligence concerning the nature and acuity of these ‘cyber security’ risks.”

CABA and Frost & Sullivan are partners on the connected home research project. It is investigating the issue of cyber security in the context of connected homes and the risks and susceptibilities associated with them. The goal of the analysis is to create an understanding of the magnitude of cyber threats and how they can be managed and eliminated, while figuring out how to solve the challenges of adopting and implementing security measures.

Image via Shutterstock

Despite the benefits that establishing connected homes can bring, risks of cyber threats have the potential to compromise the industry as a whole. The potential for critical threats to connected homes, including compromised personal data, exists not only for home owners, but technology vendors and service providers.

“Although meant to enable connected experiences, allowing third parties open access to home networks exposes both the consumer as well as the service providers to the potential vulnerabilities of cyberspace,” said Konkana Khaund, Principal Consultant for Energy & Environment, Frost & Sullivan. “Collaborative research projects like these, supported by industry participants, establish the fact that cyber threats to the connected home are indeed being taken seriously by such participants.”

More convenience always requires some sacrifice of privacy or information these days (think about what Google or Apple knows about you), and it’s about time we started protecting the assets we’re giving away. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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