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My Own Internet of Things (IoT) Nightmare (Almost) – The Smart Light Bulbs Took Over My House!

So this week’s blog article takes a page from my very own “smart” home devices. Monday morning at about 3:42 a.m. our entire household woke up because every “smart” lightbulb in the house came on at the same time! It was a bit distressing and once we got up and shut off all the lights, some of us (me!) couldn’t get back to sleep.

What if my “smart” light bulbs and/or home Wi-Fi somehow got hacked? Would someone try to spy on us? Buy items on the internet with my credit card? Was someone going to try to talk to us through our smart home device like the smart camera nightmare I wrote about a few months ago?

Needless to say, I was in a slight panic by the time Monday morning finally came around. I love all my smart devices and being connected, but I got a big scare when all the lights came on in the middle of the night. By 8 a.m., all our passwords were changed and I was about to consider pulling the plug on all my smart home technology.

Then a family member told me later that day that they were using an app and might have been the culprit. With great relief, I realized that my entire Wi-Fi and smart home systems were not hacked, but rather it was a family member who was playing around with the settings on the app, created a routine to turn on the lights, and forgot to turn the routine off.

So, I literally had my very own wake-up call regarding my personal privacy. It was a great reminder to be ever-vigilant with passwords and smart devices and to make sure that I don’t make the number one password mistake,i.e., that all the passwords to different devices and accounts are the same. With all the news lately about how much data the big tech companies are collecting about us, I also pondered whether anyone really cares about my smart light bulbs or if I’m just getting a little paranoid. But when I thought I’d been hacked, it really hit home.

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About this Author

Deborah A. George, Robinson Cole, Cybersecurity lawyer

Deborah George is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation Group as well as its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team.

Deb advises clients on and focuses her practice on data privacy and security, cybersecurity, and compliance with related state and federal laws. She also has experience providing counsel in civil litigation and employment law matters.  She has significant experience offering advice and counsel on legal issues related to human services agencies, including Medicaid, as well as  drafting and reviewing contracts, business associate agreements, and data use agreements. ...