Smart Home Tech Dangerous if Relationships Sour
by John Lister, infopackets.com
July 11, 2018

Researchers have warned that smart home technology could be used to aid domestic abuse. They've put together resources for people who could be threatened by abusive partners or former partners.

The list comes from University College London and follows a New York Times article detailing some of the way domestic abusers have turned smart home tech into a tool to further their abuse.

One example is a former partner taking account of a security loophole to continue to access a smart doorbell. That meant they could not only watch video of the partner leaving or returning from the house and monitor their visitors, but could also harass them verbally through a doorbell speaker. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Thermostat Could Be 'Weaponized'
Another problem with smart locks is a risk that a former partner could gain unauthorized access to the property.

While some of the listed threats involved monitoring (such as accessing security cameras), others included scaring or confusing the victim. Techniques could include remotely locking doors and adjusting lighting and even thermostat controls to create discomfort.

It's even suggested that former partners who were able to get close to a house could trigger home assistant devices such as the Amazon Echo with disruptive instructions.

Password Changes are The Key
The advice for those who break up with a potentially abusive or obsessive partner is to take a thorough approach to security. This includes changing the passwords on all home devices including both the security password on WiFi networks and the administration password on a router. (Source: pentestpartners.com)

Researchers also say people concerned about harassment should change passwords on all online accounts, mute the microphone on smart devices whenever they are out, and make sure to update operating software on all devices to reduce the changes of bugs being exploited.