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12 Internet of Things hacks, and why you need to lock down your smart home in 2019

The most high-profile Internet of Things hacks and vulnerabilities - and how to protect your own smart home devices

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Computers and smartphones aren't the only gadgets in our lives in danger of getting hacked. Smart home security cameras, children's toys and even our routers, the device that takes us on the internet, are all vulnerable. However, that doesn't seem to be deterring people from buying connected devices.

We like these smart speakers, robot vacuums and video doorbells so much, that the smart home market is expected to hit $53.6 billion by 2022 (up from $24.1 billion in 2016), according to insurance company Assurant.

As we bring more connected products into our home in the coming new year, it's helpful to take steps to protect smart home devices from online attackers, the best that we can. Here are some famous hacks — and what consumers can do to try and thwart these attacks.

Vaultek gun safe

Two Six Labs

A Bluetooth connection and smartphone app can be used to control most IoT and smart home devices, making their operating fast, simple and convenient. Unfortunately, when the Bluetooth-equipped Vaultek gun safe launched in late-2017, security researchers were able to unlock it without knowing the PIN.

They found how unlimited PIN guesses could be made, and because the PIN could only be between four and eight digits long - and consist only of the numbers one to five - a conservative seven seconds per try would see the safe unlocked in a maximum of 72 minutes.

This is via a so-called brute force account, where a computer is used to quickly guess PIN combinations over and over until the correct one is found and the safe unlocks. A software update was issued before the vulnerability could be exploited by malicious hackers, instead of well-meaning security researchers.

This highlights just how important it is to keep your IoT and smart home devices up-to-date, and to only use devices which can be given a strong password. If a software update for your smart door lock arrives, for example, you shouldn't put off installing it for weeks, because that could leave your lock (and therefore your entire home) vulnerable to attack.



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