"You must ensure that you have a completely unique password for every single system and service that you use, which also taking advantage of multi-factor authentication wherever it is supported"
SureCloud®, a supplier of Cybersecurity Services, Solutions and Cloud-based Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) Applications, recently partnered with Belgian consumer group Test Aankoop to provide expert consultancy services to assess the general security of the internet enabled home.
With research suggesting there will be 125 billion internet connected devices by 2030, Test Aankoop commissioned SureCloud to assess what risks consumers exposed themselves to when utilizing a large number of internet enabled devices in the home. For the project, Test Aankoop set-up an employee’s home with 19 IoT devices ranging from a smart door lock and smart thermostat to a children tablet, briefing SureCloud’s Cybersecurity experts to conduct an ethical simulated attack (Red Teaming) against the individual and their property.
Commenting on the project, Luke Potter, Cybersecurity Practice Director for SureCloud, said: “Provided with the name and address only our team set about collecting as much information as possible from online research using open-source intelligence (OSINT) techniques. Within a few hours we had obtained the full details of the individual, including their family and partner details, full employment history, corporate and personal email addresses, and an array of credentials that they had used for online accounts.
“Once this information was gathered, the team began to develop a programme of realistic phishing attacks to obtain further credentials to gain access to the accounts that were used to manage the target’s Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The purpose of this was to gain access to online accounts which in-turn are used to control IoT devices within the home. Our ability to do this clearly highlights just how much personal information is legitimately in the public domain that can be then used to directly target us in phishing attacks.
After the initial crawling of online accounts, SureCloud’s cybersecurity consultants visited the target’s property where they initially started by performing reconnaissance from outside the house. Following this, SureCloud Cybersecurity experts launched illustrative attacks. These included gaining access to the property by compromising an internet enabled Nuki smartlock; intercept messages sent from a mobile application to the One2Track Connect Touch GPS tracker, a device that enables parents to track and communicate with their children; upload malicious applications to the vTech Storio Max children’s tablet; and access images and turn off sensors in the Gigaset Elements home monitoring system.
“We were able to compromise many of the devices using similar tactics that cyber-criminals utilise to breach targets, highlighting the number of gaps that exist in our everyday protections,” continued Potter. “To consumers, there are a few key takeaways. Most critically you must ensure that you have a completely unique password for every single system and service that you use, while also taking advantage of multi-factor authentication wherever it is supported. Additionally, when you are purchasing IoT devices you should properly configure them, including changing passwords and not leaving them in their default state. Finally, if updates are made available by manufacturers of these devices, apply them as quickly as possible.”
Maarten De Backer, Project Officer at Test Aankoop commented: “With consumers increasingly adding to the number of smart devices that they have their homes this project was designed to see just how secure – or otherwise – those devices are. Our aim was to raise awareness around the risks that consumers are potentially exposing themselves to as a result of basic misconfigurations or failure to follow best-practice advice, which SureCloud did emphatically. We’ve contacted all of the manufacturers involved in the hack about how to address their vulnerabilities and have worked with SureCloud to develop a guide to preventing such attacks being successful”.