Trends in Consumer Electronics Security

Changing trends in consumer electronics have a large influence over data and security.

Home automation brings with it a few trends with respect to security. Having devices more connected is convenient, but sometimes can make securing those devices and your information more difficult.

 

Security Cameras are steadily becoming more accessible to the consumer. Easier to set up and manage than ever before, and going hand-in-hand with doorway security, some can tie into your home WiFi network and combine with physical locks and doorbells to be controlled remotely or on a schedule! PIN-code locks for doors are also on the rise, rather than using keys to open and lock doors.

 

The Internet of Things, or IoT, connects all sorts of devices to the internet that typically have not had that functionality. This trend of connecting refrigerators, microwaves, and anything else you can think of brings home automation security isolation into question.

Does your stove, refrigerator, thermostat, etc. need to be on the same network as your home computer? Given that these devices reach out to a third-party vendor, what additional access have you granted them by placing their devices on your network? As a result of a security breach, what information might the hackers have access to through those devices? Although going this far may be a bit paranoid, it might be worth considering having an isolated network segment for those devices should that company’s product be compromised. However, setting up an isolated network often involves the creation of Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs) and multiple Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) on your WiFi, which typically goes beyond the knowledge level of the average homeowner.


Facial recognition is beginning to be more popular as technology improves. The technology has been on the market and available for a while, but is now being used to unlock phones, computers, doors, and more as the technology becomes more robust. For example, infrared cameras being used to help verify that the scanner is actually seeing a person’s face and not a photo of their face has helped reduce false positives. It’s still not as prolific as the fingerprint reader, but it’s working its way up there.


Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) - Simply using more that one method of verification that you are a legitimate authorized person can dramatically increase security. As an example, a single factor is just your password. While it has been a tried and true method for decades, using only a password has limitations since it can easily become compromised. Especially since the average person uses 4-5 passwords for nearly all of their accounts. Adding a second factor of authentication, referred to as 2-Factor Authentication (or 2FA), will add something like a one-time PIN code delivered via email, SMS message, or other application to use in addition to your password. The use of products like Google Authenticator,  Authy, Duo, and others is becoming more common in the quest for keeping your digital life secure.


Speaking of those so frequently reused passwords, the use of a personal password manager is also on the rise. Products like Keeper, LastPass, KeePass and the like make not only storing different passwords for all your accounts easier but can also generate random passwords for you too. Several of these products have integrations with popular web browsers and apps so that you can auto-fill without having to copy/paste. This not only makes it easier to use but also keeps the password from being stored in the computer's clipboard cache. Motivation to use these products stems in part from the stream of news about security breaches from major companies and government agencies. And, it should go without saying, but combining both a strong random password with MFA makes it that much harder to breach your accounts.


People will always find a way to compromise information and systems, and as the technology matures and evolves, there will always be more and better ways to protect yourself and your data, home, or company. If you would like to learn more about protecting your information, reach out to our business development specialist, Hannah, at [email protected] or call Wildcard Corp. at (715) 869 - 3440 ext. 105.