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November kicks off the season of giving, and many households may be turning to smart home devices to increase their security. Often advertised during the holidays, smart security gadgets — like doorbells with cameras, Wi-Fi-enabled door locks and motion-activated security cameras — are part of a boom market, which is expected to swell to nearly $16 billion globally within the next four years.
But the latest research shows these smart devices aren’t always as secure as you think.
In a recent study from North Carolina State University, researchers reviewed 24 popular smart home gadgets, finding that the majority contained critical design flaws. The brands reviewed included Belkin, SmartThings and Wyze. We’ve reached out to the companies who manufacture these devices for their reactions to this study, but none have responded. We’ll update this story if we receive responses.
“Twenty-two of the 24 devices had one type of problem or another,” said William Enck, a computer scientist at North Carolina State University who led the study. “That speaks to this being not just a vulnerability here or there, but a design flaw that smart home manufacturers really need to be paying attention to.”
They found these devices can leak user information and put homeowners at risk of cyberattacks and break-ins. These flaws allowed for a cyberattack, staged by the researchers, to disrupt the flow of information and disable the smart devices, all without the user’s knowledge.