Smart homes are left exposed to increasing threats. Who will protect them?
Smart homes are left exposed to increasing threats. Who will protect them?
Network Operators

Who Should Protect Smart Homes from Hacking?

Home users are more connected but less protected than ever before. Growing amount of smart home devices is mostly insecure by design. Criminal hackers already abuse this explosion in connectivity.

Who can secure the home networks?

Smart homes are more connected

Every household today contains multiple connected devices, and the number will increase over the next five years. Gartner predicts that the number of connected devices will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Statista offers a higher number: according to their data, it might be almost 31 billion devices installed by 2020.

Even if these numbers are not exact, the trend is clear: the amount of smart devices is increasing and will not stop soon.

According to Pew Research Center, a third of American homes now have three or more smartphones. The number of laptops, tablets and gaming consoles is growing as well. More homes are enjoying the help of virtual assistants, smart thermostats or cameras.

According to our own data, a typical household protected by CUJO AI has 14-15 smart devices connected to LAN on average. Mostly it’s laptops, smartphones, and tablets, with a growing number of Internet of Things gadgets joining the top ten.

Devices are not secure

Traditional devices with browsers (smartphones, laptops, tablets) continue to be most susceptible to outside attacks. The main risk for a home user is that their devices can get infected by malware. That might lead to encryption of files, loss of privacy and money.

The standard protection offered for the usual devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones) is antivirus software, which doesn’t address many cybersecurity issues such as camera hacks, DDoS attacks, and ransomware. Furthermore, restrictions by Apple make it impossible for antivirus to secure iPhones and iPads.

Sadly, most of IoT devices are insecure by design. Since of most smart home devices are based on new technology, there is no security standard for IoT devices yet. Manufacturers prioritize low cost and speed-to-market over security, and IoT devices are left vulnerable to all kinds of threats.

Smart devices (TVs, cameras, DVRs) are increasingly targeted both by traditional and new hacking methods. Since it’s not possible to install endpoint security on the majority of devices that customers use today, customers have become vulnerable to hacks.

Broadband services are impacted by the IoT devices their customers install in their homes. On many occasions, these home IoT devices are the ones creating the vulnerabilities.

It is usually assumed that the devices will be placed on a secure network, but this is not the case most of the time.

Hackers are using a more sophisticated approach

The cyber threat landscape grows: cybercriminals use more sophisticated methods and release hundreds of thousands new malware samples each day.

The number of the computer viruses or other malicious software is continuously increasing. More than 317 million new malware were created last year. More conservative sources quote that 250 000 new malware threats are released daily.

Even if the numbers might differ, the direction is clear, and it points towards the need for better cybersecurity both for home users and businesses.

For instance, botnets such as Mirai and Reaper enlist unprotected smart devices. In 2016, a DDoS attack by Mirai botnet was conducted by up to 100,000 vulnerable IoT devices. It resulted in issues for 900,000 clients of Deutsche Telekom and brought down the DNS service provider Dyn.

All of that leaves the home user in a challenging position. The manufacturers do not secure smart devices. Network core solutions do not see LAN communication. Traditional solutions like antivirus and DNS firewalls are reactive by design, failing to respond to daily threats. Home networks, as a result, are left exposed to ever-increasing threats.

We believe that ISPs can address the problems that smart homeowners face today.

Learn more how we help ISPs protect their clients:

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