The Current

'Crazy' to expect consumers to guard against smart device hacks: cybersecurity expert

A new government report says hackers are increasingly targeting smart home devices, from thermostats to security cameras.

Expert Christopher Parsons says government must do more to protect Canadians

With great convenience comes great risk of digital intrusions, according to a new government report on cybersecurity. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

Read Story Transcript

As more aspects of our day-to-day lives become entwined with technology, who bears the responsibility for making sure our smart devices are secure? 

"I think that expecting consumers to do full-on security audits is crazy," said Christopher Parsons, a research associate with the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, which studies the intersection of cybersecurity and human rights.

A newly released report from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security announced cyber criminals and hackers are increasingly targeting smart home devices, making Canadians vulnerable when it comes to protecting their personal information.

According to Parsons, smart devices — from thermostats and speakers to security cameras and appliances — quickly flood the market and security is "not considered until months later, if ever."

"This is an area where government needs to step in," he told The Current's guest host Michelle Shephard.

"There needs to be some sort of regulation, or correspondingly a punishment when a security violation … is realized and the company doesn't have a system in place to rapidly fix it."

To discuss the real-world implications of hackers targeting smart home devices, Shephard spoke to:

  • Christopher Parsons, research associate with the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab
  • Scott Jones, head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Written by Eunice Kim. Produced by John Chipman and Allie Jaynes.


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