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censorship-610101_640Reports from CES 2017 is seeing some great advancements in consumer tech coming out in the journey to digital. Coupled with some recent reports from around the web I have been thinking about the question “How secure is my home in the digital age?”

There are several ways into your home in the digital age. These could be grouped as several main areas:

  • Physical
  • Electricity/Power
  • Comms ( Landline & Fibre/Broadband/Wifi)
  • Mobile
  • Media (Things you bring into your home)

The below is some food for thought on some recent highlights in the news.

Physical

Physical security is a thing we normally take for granted these days. Good front and back doors with locks. Fences, gates, spiked bushes as well as house alarms make us feel fairly secure in our castles (homes).

There are some considerations though to physical security though as these days you can purchase a lock picking kit off amazon for £10.00. These are mainly for the purposes of learning and taking part in a growing hobby of lock picking for fun (There are national competitions for this) and I am certainly not suggesting any type of activity that is against the law.

Makes you stop and think though! I have taken the steps of upgrading my locks to anti-bump, anti-pick and anti-snapping ones just to be safe.

Most dwellings now have alarms. Some smarter than others as alarms can now be connected through wifi and connected to voice services such as Alexa.

https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/scouting-out-a-security-system-that-talks-to-amazons-alexa/

I’m in two minds about this level of connectivity – “Alexa, disable the house alarm” shouted through the letterbox could be a valid command on some systems.

Electricity/Power

Electricity is the lifeblood of the Digital Age. Without power to devices they are not really going to work.

Batteries and Energy Harvesting aside the main focus area for homes is the smart meter. This is usually placed inline before the electricity cable enters the home.

This is probably the most difficult for a home user to secure against a hacker coming in and from recent press probably the most worrying at the moment.

Hackers can attack smart meters and cause significant damage

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/04/smart_metres_ccc/

There is still someway to go to ensuring protection from this type of hack in the future.

Comms

Connectivity into the home is common place with routers and a level of firewalls in place. With the rise of connected devices, consumers may need to think about increasing their security and firewalls to cope with the increasing number of devices wanting connectivity back to the web.

LG are going to be putting wifi into every appliance it releases in 2017

http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2017/01/lg-wi-fi-in-everything/

Its essential to ensure any wifi used is secured and encrypted and router settings are changed from defaults where possible.

Mobile

I could have grouped this into the comms grouping, however the mobile is becoming more a personal control hub for our environments.

Android malware can manipulate your router

http://www.zdnet.com/article/this-android-infecting-trojan-malware-uses-your-phone-to-attack-your-router/

Good practices and checking the validity of apps can help against downloading malware. Also a good security app on the device will help.

Media

In this grouping I am classing anything that you bring into your home outside of the internet and connect it to a device. There are still a lot of USB sticks used and other media so anti-virus and malware checking is essential.

With these things in mind, the consumer has a lot of things to consider as they allow their home to become more connected. Following good security practices needs to become second nature and perhaps more communication to the person on the street on security when an item is purchased.

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