This October, a DDoS attack of net traffic server Dyn sent shockwaves through the industry that continue to reverberate today.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service and is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. In this particular case, IoT-enabled smart home devices were used prominently in the attack.
Henry Clifford, president of Livewire and speaker at this week’s TecHome Builder Summits, believes this isn’t the last we’ve heard of these types of attacks. The integrator outlined what the TecHome industry needs to pay attention to in these cautious times of cybersecurity concerns.
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What were your thoughts when you first heard about the Dyn attack?
When I heard the news, my initial reaction was not necessarily one of surprise. It is no secret that any computing platform, series of devices, anything tied into the network, is basically exploitable. The biggest surprise, for me, was the deafening silence in the weeks following the attack. You didn’t see anybody from CEDIA or the CE space, unless I missed it, out there on the news talking and raising awareness about how important it is to secure the home and how important cybersecurity is. Today, when people are asked if they have a security system in their home, the notion immediately jumps to physical security. My doors are secured and my windows are secured. But, in reality, we now have connected devices in the home that can be compromised very easily, remotely and in mass.
How can this industry silence be amended?
Ask some hard questions in the name of raising awareness. We as home technology professionals also need to educate ourselves and use something like the DDoS attack as a springboard to say, “Yeah. There is a fear factor. Here is a very real example.” But also say, “Here’s what we’re doing about it. Here’s why we want to put in this network. Here’s why we have this wireless system. Here’s why we secure it this way.”
What can professionals do after raising awareness?
It’s about the solution and about thinking through the approach. It’s also about appraising not just physical windows and doors, but the notion of windows and doors being tech vulnerabilities. What are the doors into the home from a technological perspective? There are Internet doors and Internet windows and cellular doors and cellular windows. To what degree are those vulnerable and to what degree do we need to take steps to protect them? So after raising awareness, it then becomes about setting expectations.
About the Author:
President, LivewireHenry Clifford founded Livewire of Richmond, Va. in 2001, after identifying a need for simple home technology in Central Virginia. He began his career in IT during the .com boom of the 90s, working as a web developer and information architect. His lifelong passion for technology made Livewire an easy choice. Under Clifford’s leadership, Livewire has acquired five competitors since 2011, added 5,000-square-feet of office/warehouse space and is now the largest ESC in Central Virginia. In 2013 and 2014, Livewire made the Inc. 500|5000, CEPro 100 and RVA 25 lists.