Yale alarm app debacle causes chaos, new rules to protect consumers

Web-connected security cameras are among many devices hijacked and use for cyber-attacks. There are many connected devices on the market that lack basic security measures, though, which makes them susceptible to hacking. Poorly secured devices pose a serious threat. They can put our privacy and security at risk and can even be used as part of large-scale cyber-attacks.

A system failure has caused the Yale smart security app to crash and customers have reported that app failures left them powerless to disable or enable alarms. The app aims to stop gadgets being hijacked and used to mount cyber-attacks – and stamp out designs that let cyber-thieves steal data.

On Wednesday, Yale told customers across the United Kingdom on Twitter that “unplanned network maintenance” might cause some customers to “experience connection issues.”

The government has launched a new code of practice to ensure that connected products are ‘secure by design’ with security considered in the design process rather than being left as an afterthought. Makers of smart home devices are to be encouraged to make their gadgets secure against hack attacks. Tech companies HP Inc and Centrica Hive are the first to commit to making their products ‘secure by design’.

The UK has published a voluntary code of practice for manufacturers that shows how they can prove their creations against common attacks.

It’s estimated that each household in the UK owns at least 10 internet-connected devices and that there’ll be more than 420m in use across the UK within the next three years. From turning your lighting or heating on remotely to scheduling your coffee maker via an app, the ‘internet of things’ is becoming increasingly mainstream.

While Yale promised that the work would be complete within 24 hours to resolve the issue, this was later followed by a message which indicated the fix would take longer than expected.

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