By Anne Morris

Connected devices could provide ‘unfettered access’ to homes

An increasing number of connected devices are being installed in homes globally as consumers embrace new smart home technologies, but many of these devices fail to provide even the most rudimentary level of security, warned Shailaja Shankar, general manager of mobile and ISP solutions at security expert McAfee.

“We’ve seen a huge shift in security within the connected home. The proliferation of IoT devices is bringing convenience and ease, but they are also increasing the number of possible points of attack in our homes,” Shankar said.

McAfee sees the greatest rise in vulnerability from IoT devices such as smart plugs, door locks or cameras, “which could provide unfettered access to homes”, said Shankar.

“IoT devices like security cameras, smart lights and digital video recorders are particularly easy to access remotely because they often come with factory-set admin passwords, and many of us never change them to something more secure,” she added.

These risks are only set to grow in the 5G era as more data is transmitted across networks and hosted in the cloud. In order to mitigate these “endless risks”, Shankar said operators must think “security first and service second”.

Her advice to both operators and consumers is to think about the security of a new device before it is connected to the home network.

“Security is a collective responsibility,” Shankar said. “Consumers, device manufacturers, cloud service providers, ISPs and carriers all need to be collaborating to educate each other about the next wave of threats.”