SOUTHFIELD (CBS Detroit) – The convenience of a smart home and remotely controlling a thermostat, light bulbs and refrigerator may make life easier, but it could also be the next target for hackers.
While homes may not have the high-value information of a Sony or Target, a hacker could have a direct impact on families.
Hackers who gain access to a home network could lock people out of their homes, shut down refrigerators which could cause food to spoil, or take over baby monitors and scream at children, as reported by U.S. News.
This is a growing concern, and one that Michigan Technological University associate professor Shiyan Hu is studying and working to prevent.
“When everything is interconnected, hackers can easily hack one of the weak components inside these intereconnections such that they can take control of everything in a home,” said Hu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech.
Hu, who founded the Michigan Tech Cyber-Physical System Research Group, is working on hardware and system security for smart devices with chips embedded that respond to a central controller powered by Wi-Fi, the university stated.
Hu’s research group are working to develop formulas that can determine if a central controller is getting accurate data and making good decisions. These formulas can be built into controllers and smart devices.
“(Manufacturers) are still trying to push product to they market, but They don’t have specific protection techniques for potential cyber attacks,” Hu added.
A large-scale threat may still some time in the future, as smart refrigerators cause upwards of $7,000, but prices are expected to drop in the future.
“The buyer needs to be aware of potential cyber security issues,” Hu said.