Future of Home Automation May Be Local After Ring Privacy Concerns

Laura BednarCybersecurity and Vulnerabilities

Privacy Concerns Home Automation Data Storage

The Ring home security system has faced scrutiny in recent months for its alleged privacy breaches. Instead of completely writing off the technology, consumers have been exploring the option of local home automation systems that promise the security of their personal information.

A recent study from Gizmodo stated that the Ring was able to pinpoint the general location of users who owned and operated a Ring doorbell. In addition to users’ location data being compromised, there were several articles accusing Ring of sharing videos with law enforcement even though a user may decline the request for access. With over 400 police forces partnering with Ring in 2019, it is not unthinkable that some users consider the request for access to be just for show.

For home automation and Ring-like security systems, the problem of privacy lies within how data is stored and how much control a user has over this information.

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Difference Between Local and Web-Based Automation

With a system such as Ring, all controls, video, and data are stored using the cloud. This means that when your doorbell sends a video alert to your mobile device, it must first go through internet servers. This type of system may result in higher latency when travelling through the extra layers, and an internet outage can mean the doorbell is as good as shut off. However, these minor annoyances are nothing compared to the security risks that the cloud poses.

Amazon, who owns the Ring franchise, is under fire for not having enough security such as strong password requirements or two-factor authentication. When information is left in a public cloud without proper protection, users’ data about their homes are left exposed for a skilled hacker.

A local home automation system is a hub that stores your device information within your own network, no internet required. Companies such as Hubitat use a hub, which is a fast processor with advanced automation software that manages the devices on your own network. This means there is no cloud server needed, which in theory would make it more difficult to hack. Users are also given more control over the data that comes from the security devices.

Rise of Local Home Automation

Online forums are just one of the mediums where consumers are talking about where to find local home automation hubs. Automation companies like Hubitat and SmartThings are just some of the options that are offering cloud-less automation for your smart devices. These local hubs are turning into a “hub” of activity on the markets as security becomes a prevalent factor in choosing a home automation system.

Security has become a necessity not just for data, but for the people who use smart devices. In one case, a man sued Ring claiming that the security camera was hacked and the hacker harassed his children. In cases of security breaches, the best thing for consumers to do is take action to protect themselves.

While Hubitat may be a viable option for keeping data local, a user must still create an account with the company. Login credentials and passwords must be made secure and complex, leaving security in the hands of the users rather than the security companies themselves. While a local storage system is a step in the right direction, consumers who are forthright in their efforts to ensure privacy will be far more effective than simply taking a company at its word.

Ensuring Your Data Security

When your smart home experiences a data breach or endures another type of cybercrime, Secure Forensics is a certified resource that can help. Our examiners have years of experience investigating devices to find evidence of digital crime. The data we find will be interpreted into a court-admissible report detailing the evidence of data breaches, cyberbullying, infidelity, identity theft, or other digital forensic cases. When you have a case against a company or person in which your privacy is on the line, call Secure Forensics to find out how we can help you to regain your cybersecurity.