While the thought of having your refrigerator connected to the Internet might make you chuckle, there are serious concerns about the security of many Internet of Things (IoT) devices if you don’t take certain precautions.

According to a Globe and Mail article, independent Security Evaluators (ISEs) at a DefCon security conference in Las Vegas last year used man-in-the-middle attacks on a smart fridge that had Internet access through a WiFi modem.

In that particular instance, a hole in the smart fridge’s security let them access email, potentially allowing the hacker to reset a password and steal the person’s identity. But this wasn’t all they found.

In total, 27 devices sold by 18 manufacturers were compromised. The list included other Internet of Things products for the home including:

  • Wireless sound system speakers
  • Baby monitors
  • Motion sensor systems
  • Toy remote control tanks
  • Home security system
  • Digital door locks

So while you’re reading a shopping list on the screen embedded in your internet-connected fridge door, consider that someone might be accessing your email through the same device.

ISE held the conference to challenge claims made by various hackers that have surfaced. These claims suggested that IoT devices were not as secure as they should be. Clearly, the claims were true for many devices.

Whatever smart devices you may consider adding to your home or will come with the new home you’ve just purchased, be sure to do your security research on them (and the manufacturer) beforehand. If there are numerous discussions and articles about known vulnerabilities, you may want to wait to purchase until those concerns are satisfactorily addressed by the company.

Here are two ways to start protecting your home, family, and identity from potential security attacks:

  1. Password protect your home WiFi network. No matter how secure your IoT device might claim to be it won’t keep out those who are intent on stealing personal information.
  2. Homeowner insurance that includes identity theft. If you have a mortgage, homeowner insurance is imperative. Ask your insurance agent whether that insurance covers identity theft. Alternatively, ask if they have a rider that covers any digital loss.

For safe, secure real estate transactions, contact our Sutton WestCoast Realty agents at 778-316-4290.