Apple Home friend or foe?

I am always interested to see what new features Apple have cooked up and this year at the WWDC16 is no exception with two features that really took my interest.

 

Apple Auto Unlock using apple watch to unlock our devices (time of flight networking) and Apple Home, a re-developed app that controls our home appliances and security such as the heating, lighting and controlling access to our front door.

 

We all lead an increasingly interconnected life with all of our devices connected to the internet and Apple is a leader in this technology. Today all of our apple devices are remotely managed using the cloud so that we can easily share data between them.
We now have apple watches which are an immediate interface for us to use and now acts as a key to unlock your laptop with Apples new Auto unlock feature.

 

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I am normally encouraged with the new security innovations that are developed to protect our personal devices and online presence but there is something I find quite uncomfortable about having the ability to control our Homes using our phones.

 

My home is my safe haven and to be honest I’m a little conscious controlling access to my home using a mobile device.  Especially when it comes to controlling the front door. I think I would rather keep this element local and not connected to my home network.

Cyber criminals are constantly looking for new ways to steal sensitive information, with the ultimate goal to make money. The current threat is mainly focused around business as they have more to lose in term of reputation and normally have deeper pockets.
We see techniques like Phishing which involves tricking people to divulge sensitive information normally via email and ransomware which encrypts the victim’s data and demands money in exchange for the their data to be decrypted.

 

I think over the next 5 years we will see a big shift towards connecting our homes to the internet of things (IOT) and possibly we may even see an increased threat leaning towards the individual rather than the commercial sector.

 

As users it’s surprising how much information we put on the web without even realising it. Take Facebook for example, some users like to post their daily lives and then tweet it to twitter. We like to post location pins detailing our whereabouts and tag who we are with. We even like to post our professional details such as our profession, qualifications, CV’s and personal information.

 

All this information can be targeted by hackers to assist them in building profiles about an individual with the intention to use this information to spear-phish them to extract further information. This can be bank details, or even assistance to help them logon to your computer.

There are a number of techniques are used to assist hackers with their fraudulent activity. Gone are the days of spending days trying to compromise a network, it’s far easier to gain someone’s trust and then use that trust against them to access their system.

 

I really like the functionality that Apple Home brings but it also brings along the fear that a hacker could compromise our home network and control aspects of our home. Some will argue that a burglar can break into our homes anyway, which is true but this type of functionality also adds additional risk.

 

Could this type of system allow a hacker to open my front door from their car or even over the internet while I’m asleep? It’s possible.  They may even be able to find out if your house is empty by checking your status on Facebook, maybe you’re out for dinner and you have posted your location.

 

Information about us to readily available on the internet and is being used to perform targeted attacks on individuals and now we are starting to connect our homes to the internet too. I think we need to think about the security implications before we start to integrate our homes on the internet.

 

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