Alarming Study Reveals Password Problems in Home Automation Systems

A burgeoning portion of what is referred to as the “Internet of things” is the home automation market, but an alarming new study could quash its growth — or at least slow it for the time being.

Put simply, the Internet of things is the idea of complete connectivity (through the Internet) of all of the devices and things we humans come into contact with. According to Forbes contributor Jacob Morgan, this includes everything from cell phones to washing machines, lamps, headphones, and everything in between.

A growing part of this connectivity is the home automation market, which automates things in the home like alarms, cameras, smoke detectors, and even thermostats. All of these elements are then connected to a homeowner’s smart phone, where he or she can receive notifications or control settings using apps for both Apple and Android devices (depending on the home automation system he or she owns).

Companies in the home security sector, like Schlage, which has been making locks for decades, have moved swiftly into the home automation market and are continually upgrading their products and technologies. Everyone’s favorite tech giant Apple is even getting in on the action with their HomeKit. The problem is that a recent study by HP reveals that a number of these home automation products aren’t really that secure, according to NBC News.

The study looked at 10 of the top home automation products in the business but did not specify which they studied. The biggest security problem? You probably guessed it: the passwords.

The study found two major problems with the passwords for these systems. One, the systems allowed users to create easy-to-guess and non-complicated passwords to begin with, like “12345.” The other problem is that the systems would not lock users out after a number of failed password attempts, which is a security feature that countless other tech products have.

While the Internet of things is a growing reality, home automation — as with any relatively new technology — has a way to go before becoming a very secure method of protecting one’s home. Until then, homeowners should probably make complicated passwords a priority.

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