Suddenly hot smart home devices are ripe for hacking, experts warn

Monday, December 26, 2016
By Paul Martin

Jennifer Schlesinger | Andrea Day
CNBC.com
12/25/2016

Will 2017 be the year your home becomes under attack from cyber criminals?

Experts expect the number of attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) will likely increase in 2017. IoT includes devices like webcams, DVRs and connected thermostats that make life easier for homeowners, but are susceptible to cyber-intrusions.

These gadgets add conveniences like locking your door or shutting off the lights all from a smartphone app, but they come with certain risks, experts warn.

“The sharks have smelled the blood in the water and they’re now circling to use your IoT device for further attacks,” said James Lyne, global head of security research for Sophos, a U.K.-based cybersecurity company.

The concerns about technological vulnerabilities come as experts say smart home devices are hot gifts this holiday season. The growing reach of smart devices makes the dangers more acute, some say.

“I think we’re going to see real strength in the Internet of Things and it’s not just your thermostat, it’s going to be everything in your house, your refrigerator, your washing machine, your dishwasher,” Jan Kniffen, a consultant specializing in retail and CEO of J. Rogers Kniffen Worldwide, said on CNBC’s “On The Money” recently.

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