Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Home owners threatened by hack attack

By guest columnist Cleland Thom
It's a pain when someone hacks your email account or your credit card.

But how about if they hacked your whole house? A Florida law firm has warned it's more likely than you think.

In the future, they say, hackers could flood your house or even set fire to it, with just a few clicks of their keyboard.

Berger Singerman's warning came after tech firm Nest announced a programme that allows you to control your domestic appliances via the internet.

You can programme an alarm wake you up when the light and temperature suit you best, warn you if there's a gas leak, or tell your garage you're on your way home, so it opens its doors, ready for your arrival.

It works by using your central heating controls as a communications hub.

Lawyer Andrew M Hinkes said: 'There's a possibility of someone tampering with the controls.

'Maybe a hacker could start a fire by tampering with your clothes dryer, flood your home by attacking your water heater, or commandeer your Mercedes Benz and disable its computer system.

'A hacker / burglar combination could probably figure out when you leave your home by tracking your car, or determine when you are sleeping by monitoring your heart rate. These are serious dangers that bring up serious questions.'

So be warned. Next time you turn up your central heating, remember: the whole of cyberspace could be watching ...

Cleland Thom is director of CTJT, who provide lifestyle journalism courses

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