Industry wide we have seen a huge increase in malicious activity, a large part of this is how prevalent and easy it is to get information from internet connected devices. There was a term coined a few years back (I think by Cisco) called the “internet of things” and while it can be convient to have a light switch connected to your wifi so you can turn on or off a light from anywhere in the world there is little thought being given by the consumer as to the potential threats that could arise.
A smart device that is connected to the internet is essential a tiny computer, and like all computers it has an operating system and the capablitiy of being hacked, now it may not sound importiant to worry about the security of a light switch, but if that switch is connected to your Wi-Fi any vulnerability in it could potentially be used to gain access to other systems on the same network. Systems such as your celluar phone or you PC, where much more personal and importiant information is kept. Or just think, there are internet connected refrigerators now with webcam’s that let you see what is inside that fridge, but if the door is opened at the right moment then in a blink of an eye an unflattering picture of yourself could have been captured and sent around the world.
There are ways to allow for the use of these devices and limit the exposure to hacking, most wireless routers on the market today allow you to setup a guest network. The advantage to using something like that for devices that don’t need to interact directly with your PC or other network attached devices is that on a guest network the device maintains access to the internet but is unable to access other parts of your network. Keeping your lightswitch away from your online banking passwords.