Nothing is more valuable to you than your family. And nothing is more precious to your family than your home.
So, you keep it secure. You have deadbolt locks on your doors and latches to secure your windows. Why? To keep the bad guys out. You'd never hand a copy of your keys to those criminals, would you?
Of course not. Unfortunately, as it turns out, a new wave of Internet-connected devices in your home are letting hackers easily break into your home, and put your family at risk. It's like handing over a copy of your keys to them.
A team of university researchers found major security gaps in the No. 1 Internet-connected gadget, Samsung's SmartThings. But these dangers apply to anyone with Internet-connected appliances and other smart gadgets.
"I would say it's OK to use these as a hobby right now, but I wouldn't use it where security is paramount," University of Michigan professor Atul Prakash told Phys.org.
These researchers proved there are at least four scary ways hackers could bypass your smart-home gadgets to get into your home, or manipulate the gadgets in it. It's important to note that their experiments were performed on real SmartThings systems. Samsung is aware of the security flaws and they're working on fixes.
The overriding problem is when more than one Internet-connected devices are networked together and remotely accessed. For example, you probably use your smartphone to open your garage door, turn the thermostat up or down, and much more.
Note: To put this risk in perspective, just one of Samsung's SmartThing apps, on Android smartphones and tablets, has been downloaded 100,000 times, so people can remotely control their home and appliances. But there are at least 500 third-party apps in the SmartThings store.