This time, we’ll talk geopolitics. Let’s ask ourselves to what extent a country that massively produces smart home devices and/or voice assistants could grab another country by the throat using home automation installed at the latter. We will see how URGENT it is for each county to acquire “Home Automation Sovereignty”.
I am convinced that, as things stand, a connected home is dangerously vulnerable. Indeed, the IT rules that people implement to secure their homes are so pathetically weak (or even non-existent), that even the most junior hacker could remotely infiltrate it and set it on fire.
Now let’s bump up the scale. Imagine an army of hackers, soldiers with the right budget, at the services of a country. A country that will seize a welcome technological opportunity and prepare for a war of a completely different kind. Imagine this game of chess at the global level, with the pieces — home automation, in this case — positioned on a giant chessboard. Battles will no longer be won with ballistic missiles but with new technologies, all without sending a single soldier onto the battlefield. Imagine a few world-renowned manufacturers, all from the same great sovereign country, invading and conquering the world with excellent smart home products or assistants. Can you see it coming? It should be easy to, because we’re already neck-deep in this scenario. Not convinced? Just search Google for “Huawei Banned” and “Supermicro espionage”.
In the event of a conflict, the country that has placed the most home automation pieces in its enemy’s house could threaten to take complete control of it. Imagine what the president of a country could say to his enemy: “I could press a button, not to launch a nuclear attack, but — much more effective — a home automation attack. I can do it via the 15 million voice assistants and 20 million mobile phones my country has manufactured and that are in your country and that I can control remotely. I can take control of all your homes, offices, factories, and industrial sites. I can turn on absolutely everything that consumes power. I can create a massive power demand that blows out your power distribution network because it’s not designed to handle that kind of load. I can create the biggest blackout of all time. It’ll take you six months to recover. And, by the way, thank you for choosing my country’s technology ….” This president has his choice of weapons, since his enemy’s country is infested with his technology. Why bother sending bombs to nuclear power plants and take the risk of uncontrollable pollution whose radioactive clouds could turn against him when the wind blows? Home automation is much more efficient.
And manufacturers — will they accept that we use their technology to wage war? What do you think? Any ISP or business owner who’s developed a successful social network, who makes smartphones that sell everywhere, will inevitably see men in black with a government badge march in one day to make them a proposal they can’t refuse. They will cooperate for national security reasons. No problem!
We can do anything with home automation in the context of a war. Create a real panic and make homes or sites uncontrollable and unusable. Or something more fun: broadcast videos and audio propaganda messages on all the screens and speakers in a house, monkey around with thermostats, make lights blink in the middle of the night, constantly change all the Wi-Fi passwords…
Now, without even considering a conflict, we are entitled to ask ourselves a question: Could our own country, which maintains control while using a backdoor that manufacturers have no choice but to make available, influence our moods or control us by using home automation and subliminal audio, video or light messages to calm us down, irritate us, or make us more or less docile?
In short, from the most anecdotal to the most dangerous, security in home automation is becoming, more than ever, a national security issue. We are no longer friends with anyone in these cases, because yesterday’s friends can suddenly become tomorrow’s enemies. It is imperative that each country develop home automation solutions that keep them secure. If they don’t, they risk permanently losing their sovereignty.