Researchers Discover Weak Security in Many Home Security Systems

The idea behind home security systems is to protect and safeguard the home against intrusions, burglary, property damage, fire, and other untoward events. But what happens when these security systems run the risk of endangering the people it’s supposed to protect?

HP researchers recently tested ten new connected home security systems and found that the Internet of Things (IoT)-connected security systems were full of flaws. According to the researchers, you may be more vulnerable and less secure than before you bought these security systems.

The study showed that due to lack of proper protection mechanisms, malicious parties could easily access the system. What’s worrying about this issue is that all of the systems allow the use of weak passwords—most of them required only six alphanumeric character passwords with no auto-lock function after a number of failed authentication attempts. Additionally, since connected home security systems use a cloud service, several of the tested systems allowed account enumeration through cloud-based web interfaces and a mobile application interface.  

Given these security holes, home owners may not be the only ones monitoring the safety of their homes, but cybercriminals as well. Attackers can brute-force user credentials, gain access to mobile and Web interfaces and see video feeds.

Home security systems are designed to improve the protection of homes, and these technologies need to come with stronger security features. The recent study also highlights the importance of encryption when it comes to security communications. Encryption, however, needs to have the proper configuration and implementation of security protocols. Apart from this, systems, software, and firmware must be updated and improved with security in mind. For early adopters of these IoT devices, here are few recommendations that will help prevent possible threats:

  • Buy IoT-enabled products from vendors who update their product firmware regularly. Flaws and vulnerabilities will always be inherent in any system, but products from vendors that regularly roll out firmware updates to patch them should be more secure.
  • Secure your home network. Web and mobile applications that connect to the home network must also be secured with stronger passwords and settings to better defend against intrusions. This includes the router, as well as all computers and mobile devices that connect to it.
Finally, for those buying new IoE-connected products, read our list of security considerations to check out before making a purchase.

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