BERLIN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The increasing use of networked technologies in private households, also known as the "internet of things", exposes its users to serious security risks, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) warned on Thursday.
"These devices are essentially just computers which are often produced cheaply", CCC spokesperson Linus Neumann told the German press agency (dpa). Formally registered in Germany, the association is widely considered to be Europe's largest hacker organization with 7,700 registered members.
Neumann warned that intense competition on price in the industry came at a cost to security, especially with regards to software quality and long-term customer care. Given that few producers prioritized these issues, customers frequently continued to use internet of things technology without vital security updates or simply replaced the devices for new ones.
As a consequence, the current practice was "either harmful to security or the environment and sustainability", Neumann said. Several major technology companies have expressed hopes that "smart homes", where household systems such as heating-, lighting- or even door locks, can be controlled remotely via the internet, will become a lucrative area of application for their networked products.
The CCC urged policymakers to respond to the trend by forcing internet of things manufacturers to take more responsibility for resulting security threats. Amongst others, the association proposed passing legislation to make it binding for companies to offer regular software updates.
Additionally, Neumann recommended to consumers to demonstrate greater caution themselves when granting profit-oriented entities access to their private data. He highlighted that there were "hardly any areas anymore" which large data collectors did not already have access to and noted that even seemingly trivial devices such as networked ovens and dishwashers offered potentially valuable information about their users to large corporations.