Technically-demanding attacks from remote adversaries may not be the most likely threat to a smart home. Misuse of smart devices by family members, housemates, or visitors have been documented but have not been previously studied to understand the type, severity, and frequency of misuse. Misuse can include changing a homeowner’s smart thermostat settings without their knowledge or making a purchase on someone else’s smart speaker without permission while visiting their home.
Our findings show that unauthorized use of smart devices is widespread (experienced by 43% of participants), and that misuse is also common (experienced by at least 19% of participants). Understanding the current state of interpersonal IoT misuse can provide important context for researchers and IoT developers exploring new ways to limit access and prevent violations.
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Moh, Phoebe, Pubali Datta, Noel Warford, Adam Bates, Nathan Malkin, and Michelle L. Mazurek. “Characterizing Everyday Misuse of Smart Home Devices.” IEEE S&P (IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy), 2023, 1558–72. https://doi.org/10.1109/SP46215.2023.00089.