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Connected Home Lawsuit

Abbott Law Group, P.A. > Connected Home Lawsuit

The Internet of Things arrived full speed in every aspect of our life including our home. Security experts are warning that the Internet of Things in our connected homes could be a security and privacy threat. Hackers are able to breach your home camera, garage door opener, smart TV, baby monitors, etc.

The Abbott Law Group’s attorney Steven Teppler is specializing in the electronic discoverydata breachesInternet of Things, and technology litigation. If you have been a victim of identity theft or data breach in your connected home, please contact us at (904) 292-1111 for a free case evaluation.

Wifi Garage Doors

Ever wonder if you left your garage door opened? With the MyQ garage and other Wifi garage openers, you’ll never have to worry about that again.  The connected garage has sensors built in which will know if the garage door is open or not.   The homeowner can log into their smartphone app and check to see if their garage door is closed or not.   Other features included offer ¼, ½, and ¾ openings  in case the homeowner would like their garage door opened but not all the way.

It is possible for hackers to compromise the Wifi garage doors, and this was demonstrated through the use of a $17 dollar child’s toy.   Make sure your Wifi Garage Door opener is secured with an encrypted password.

Connected Door Locks

Another added convenience to daily life. The connected lock is perfect for being able to remotely access your door to see if it was locked.  It also gives the homeowner the ability to unlock the door in case you are unable to locate your key.  Like the other connected devices, you should research how likely it is for a thief to be able to break into your home.  If your door lock is susceptible to WiFi spoofing, it may be easier than you think for thieves to enter your house.

Wifi Security system

Connected video and security systems are extremely popular now and offer a wide range of features giving homeowners the ability to monitor their homes like never before.  Many home systems come with a number of IP cameras which may be placed anywhere as long as they have a power source.  The security systems also come with motion sensors which may be added anywhere.

The most convenient part is that the homeowner is able to remotely access the cameras and receive alerts on their smartphone if the motion sensors detect movement.  The homeowner is able to quickly locate a camera close to the motion sensor and see what is going on.

Unfortunately, if your WiFi network isn’t secure, or hackers are able to break into the Wifi security system, they may have the same access and control as you.  There have been numerous reports where thieves were able to see through the security cameras and see and empty home.

Smart appliances

What connected home would be complete without a dozen connected appliances as well?

Coffee makers and tea kettles–  can be programmed to brew the moment you wake up and access your phone.  They can also be turned off remotely so the pot doesn’t burn and waste energy.  Knowing there is a fresh pot of hot coffee waiting for you has sent many to the stores to purchase this item.

Smart Fridges – One of the most exciting features with the new smart fridges is that they can now be used to help track grocery inventory and monitor the freshness of groceries.  When someone uses the last egg or the fridge knows that your milk is about to expire, it will send you a notification to let you know.  You can then send that grocery list to a store to have it ready be picked up on the way home from work.  While all the added convenience sounds alluring, you should also be aware that your fridge may be susceptible to ransomware, spyware, and even hackers.  Always make sure to change default login and password to make it more difficult for thieves to compromise your smart devices.

Smart TV’s –  The latest generation of smart TV’s have their own OS which runs apps and can even stream movies straight from your internet connection.  There are also a number of other features which may let your TV be controlled by your smartphone.

There is very little security software out there to protect against antivirus and spyware.  Thousands of infected smart TV’s are being seen in appliance botnets which a responsible for DDoS attacks.

Smart Lightbulbs –  Our smartphones, tablets, and other devices can now control the lighting of our home without having to reach for a light switch anymore.  This added convenience gives homeowners added control to their home in a number of ways.  Lights can be remotely controlled to save energy, adjust brightness, and turn lights on for added security.

Internet Routers, Cable Modems, and Access Points –  These little boxes are the gateway to all of our connected devices.  They provide internet access and broadcast it over great lengths.  When setting up these connected devices, you need to make sure that the default login and passwords are changed.  If a thief is able to compromise or break into your internet router, they will be able to see all the other devices on your connected network.

Smart Washer and Dryer – Unlike your standard washer and dryer, these smart appliances are able to send you notifications when your load finishes.  It will also let you know if your laundry needs more time to dry so you’ll never have to deal with slightly damp clothing again.  Much like the smart fridges and TV’s, they do not come with security software to keep the smart washer and dryer safe from malware.  There have also been reports that hackers were able to break into the smart washers due to apps which were left open.

Smart Water Heater – The smart water heater was designed to help cut the cost of owning a home.  The software inside can be programmed to let the water heater know when people are home, and when to have hot water ready.  Smart water heaters are also susceptible to being hacked which could cause problems for the homeowner.

Wifi Thermostat

The connected home has a Wifi thermostat to help not only regulate temperature but cut the cost down significantly by allowing for greater variations of degrees while the home is not occupied.    The added ability to remotely control and program your thermostat has many rushing to the shelves to help cut the cost of energy.

Connected Toys

It was just a matter of time before children’s toys became connected to the internet as well.  Major names like Hasbro, Mattel, Lego, and Disney are all releasing interactive toys that speak and respond while your child is playing with the toy.  What has many consumers hesitant to purchase these products is that we do not know how secure they are. Like other connected devices, connected toys may also be susceptible hacking, hijacking, or malware.  Parents should use caution when purchasing toys which connect to the internet.

Lowered cost and convenience vs. Security risks and vulnerabilities

The big draw to all of the connected technology is that it will streamline our lives, reduce cost of energy, and even provide further entertainment. However the questions each of us should ask before we purchase our next connected device should be:

  • What kind of security risks am I potentially putting in danger of with such a device?
  • Does the connected device store little to no personal information, or could it be a treasure trove of information for thieves to steal?
  • What happens when my connected device becomes compromised by ransomware or malware, and how easy is it to do something about it?
  • If my device is hijacked, how much control over it does the hacker have?
  • Does the device offer the highest level of encryption over WiFi?
  • Does the device offer automatic updates?
  • What kind of track record does the manufacturer have when it comes to security?

IoT and Connected Device Lawsuits

If your connected devices were hacked and caused significant damage, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.  Injuries may include personal, financial, or identity theft, depending upon the actions that were taken against you by the thief.  It is the manufacturer’s job to keep their customers and their information safe.  Contact us for a free case evaluation if you believe a connected device may be responsible for significant damages.