Security of smart devices more important than ever

Smart devices are increasingly common in Dutch homes. A total of 2.8 million households in the Netherlands have smart home products, according to market research consultants  Multiscope. The firm's survey of 4,700 people found that the smart home market grew by 70 per cent last year. Meanwhile, the Dutch Radiocommunications Agency has announced plans to pay closer attention to smart equipment in the year ahead.

People are connecting more and more smart devices to the internet, forming an 'Internet of Things' (IoT). Examples include smart thermostats, fridges, cameras and lights. Such gadgets enrich our lives in all sorts of ways, but also introduce new risks. Many people overlook the fact that smart devices need to be secured, just like smartphones and tablets. Otherwise, they can be hacked and used for criminal purposes, such as mounting DDoS attacks.

Confidence in smart devices

It's vital that consumers and businesses can have confidence that mobile phones, tablets, smart watches and other 'intelligent' devices work properly and are safe to use, says the Radiocommunications Agency. The Agency has accordingly made the security and reliability of the equipment offered for sale one of the focuses of its  Market Supervision for 2019.

Hacked fridges

New research recently underscored the importance of smart home security. An investigation by Safety Detective found that thousands of fridges in business premises all over the world can easily be hacked over the internet. The fridges have systems for remote temperature adjustment, most of which use a default password that anyone can find out by reading the manual on the manufacturer's website.  "Not many owners change their fridge passwords. So, to hijack a fridge, all you need is the right URL," say the investigators. "And our tests indicate that the URL isn't hard to discover."

Better security for smart homes

SIDN believes in a safe and trustworthy internet for everyone. So we're developing a solution for making IoT products more secure. Our system's called SPIN, which is short for Security & Privacy for In-home Networks. It's an open-source building block that suppliers of routers and modem CPE devices can use to protect their customers' smart homes against abuse. Our ambition for SPIN is to proactively protect the DNS and the internet against attacks, while also enhancing users' IoT-related security and privacy. To realise that ambition, we want to make SPIN a full-featured product suitable for use in home networks around the world. 

Full details of SPIN are available on the website spin4home.nl. If you'd like to know more, contact Ad Bresser by calling +31 26 352 5500 or mailing spin4home@sidn.nl 

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