Skip to Content

Digital Summit: How to Secure Connected Homes?

Keeping some devices off the Internet may be the best way to secure the Internet of things.
June 10, 2014

The Internet of Things provides plenty of opportunities to make life easier: a smart thermostat like Nest can learn your routine and control your home’s temperature, for instance. A door lock like the (unreleased) August that communicates with your smartphone could recognize you and automatically let you into your home.

But how we will maintain security and privacy while connecting more devices to the Internet (and to each other) remains an open question. One speaker at MIT Technology Review’s Digital Summit on Monday suggested that keeping devices offline–at least sometimes–might be the best solution.

That’s according to Liat Ben-Zur, who leads Qualcomm’s effort to develop software called AllJoyn that makes it easier to link up different devices. She said security and privacy in a connected home could be helped by giving users explicit control over which devices actually connect to the Internet, and which ones simply talk to others in the same home.

Ben-Zur also suggested that users might be given a chance to police which outside services—for instance a weather service—are authorized to talk to their smart home gadgets.

Jason Johnson, founder and CEO of August, acknowledged that security was crucial to products like his, which links a door lock to smartphones via Bluetooth. However, he also argued that people should keep the risks of hackers taking over their smarthome into perspective compared to the more conventional threats they face.

Most burglars enter through a window, not by breaking a lock – smartphone connected or otherwise. “The truth is nobody’s going to spend hours and hours hacking Bluetooth and your device,” he said.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.