Cyber-crime has always been a subject of much paranoia and fear in the digital age. From hacking emails to stealing entire identities to breaking into government systems, cyber-crime has become a high profile and media friendly crime. Yet, at the same time we’ve become a bit complacent to the existence of cyber-crime, perhaps putting too much faith in the devices that we use every single day to protect our information and selves.
While hacking into an account is one thing, hacking into your house is another. As this piece in the Quartz points out, just wait until cyber criminals hack into your smart house and take over your physical life. Like all possibilities of cyber-crime, it is bound to happen, and soon. As we bulk up the technology in our homes with smart lights, security systems and even thermostats, criminals are working on ways to hack into these systems to take advantage of your digital life.
While we slowly replace our everyday devices with internet connected and enabled smart technology, hackers will be looking to apply disruptive attacks on these devices. While activating an internet capable toilet to waste water (costing you money) might not seem like a threat to national security, it will literally be a pain in the ass, mostly to your wallet. This hacking into smart home devices will be the apex of petty criminals everywhere.
From being able to see when you aren’t at home (through your thermostat perhaps) to controlling your refrigerator to altering the your lights (already there are apps that can be used to access the lights and temperature in the home from afar) petty criminals have an almost endless slate of mischief to choose from. Yet, does any of this really matter? Will criminals slink so low as to enjoy altering the state of your physical environment? Yes, yes they will and they will find ways to not only exploit the environment, but to profit off it as well.
So what can you do to protect yourself? At this time, not much. The engineers behind all these smart devices were focused on the devices themselves, not realizing that they would be connected to everything through the internet. And while one could assume that your own personal WiFi security would be enough, there are enough horror stories of hacked and misused WiFi to crack that theory. Right now criminals can easily spy on you, just with the devices you are already using daily. As if the NSA collecting your data isn’t bad enough.