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What's the Most Vulnerable Type of Device in a Smart Home? You'll Never Guess

Silviu Stahie

March 19, 2021

What's the Most Vulnerable Type of Device in a Smart Home? You'll Never Guess
  • Mistaken assumptions about smart home cybersecurity lead to more problems
  • We put much trust in a particular IoT device, but we don't secure it enough
  • There's always a solution, no matter the security issue

What's one of the most vulnerable types of devices in a smart home? The question seems straightforward, but most people guess incorrectly because the answer is not intuitive. In fact, out of all IoT devices in people's minds, this would not make it in the top 10.

It's easy to ignore the security of our smart homes. After all, we have a clear expectation from our IoT devices. We want them to run, to update themselves and never to become obsolete. Two of these expectations are unrealistic. In many situations, owners have to upgrade their IoT devices manually, and those devices will certainly become obsolete.

These assumptions also created one of the most significant issues in cybersecurity today. While smart homes have become more commonplace, they are filled with unpatched devices and old hardware that reached end of life long ago.


How exactly are we making things worse?


A third condition further complicates matters. What if one of the smart devices we use every day holds valuable or critical data and falls into one of the two categories we already mentioned? Meaning that it's either unpatched, past end of life, or both?

This is where network-attached storage (NAS) devices come into play. Bitdefender's telemetry shows that, while NAS devices are not even among the top 10 most-used devices in smart homes, they are #1 when it comes to amassing the largest number of vulnerabilities.

To say that it's surprising is an understatement. NAS devices are usually deployed as backups for important data, but they are riddled with vulnerabilities so they’re targeted a lot more. Having your precious data encrypted with ransomware is one of the worst possible outcomes.


How can we make things better?


The first step people should take is to see if their devices fall into one or both of the categories we mentioned and ask two simple questions. Are my IoT devices up to date? Are my IoT devices still supported? If either answer is no, users should address the problems individually.

A second step would be to employ a smart router that can detect compromised devices in its network. But where to get such a router? One of the most important players involved in the users' security is the Internet Service Provider, as unlikely as that sounds. The ISP has the power to offer its customers better protection by implementing a dedicated solution onto its routers.

Bitdefender IoT Security Platform serves this exact purpose, but it does much more than pinpoint vulnerabilities in guarded devices. It's also powerful enough to stop DDoS attacks and protect against brute force attacks, and it can even feature network-level parental controls.

On the other side, ISPs can easily integrate it into their existing hardware as it comes with a very low footprint and it's completely platform-agnostic. It's a great investment not only because it offers an excellent service to customers, but it also helps protect the company's network and deployed equipment.

And since more and more people use NAS devices each year, preferring to deploy their own backup clouds in their smart homes, the existing problems will only grow if cybersecurity is ignored.


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Silviu Stahie

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.

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