Why Ambient Computing Means More APIs and That Equals More Security Risk

Smart home devices are increasingly being adopted globally. In 2024, it is estimated that more than half of US households will use smart devices, with the global smart home industry estimated to hit a $537B valuation by 2030. One of the innovations that could contribute to these staggering numbers is ambient computing.

Ambient computing is almost here

Nearly every US household owns at least one smart home device. The Wall Street Journal recently shared a glimpse of the future of smart homes where a connected network of devices in a household can wake you up, brew your coffee display your calendar on the bathroom mirror, take your grocery inventory, and much more.

Besides homes, technological innovations will be seen in other industries, such as driverless cars that can smoothly navigate traffic or building and smart office systems that monitor movements and optimize power generation and storage.

A world of interconnected smart devices is what is known as the ambient computing revolution. According to experts, ambient computing could be here in less than a decade, and a small percentage of the global population has already adopted the innovation.

Ambient computing poses a significant security risk

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently issued a security advisory against Nexx. The advisory said that Nexx’s smart home devices, such as the garage door controller, smart plug, and the smart alarm had critical flaws.

In the advisory, CISA said,

Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to receive sensitive information, execute application programmable interface (API) requests, or hijack devices.

This advisory sheds light on the dangers posed by smart home devices. As people bring technology into their homes, they should also be aware of the security threats which will become more critical when ambient computing is here.

Smart devices are connected using APIs, and when there are more APIs, the level of reward and risk increases. Moreover, these devices gather sensitive data, including schedules and sleep patterns. Hackers can use such data to steal identities or misuse them for marketing purposes.

Securing APIs has been a major challenge. One of the reasons behind this is that the number of APIs being created, maintained, and used in smart home devices has increased significantly. Moreover, the traffic and the volume of information transacted through these APIs have skyrocketed. Therefore, a sophisticated hacker can exploit these APIs easily if they detect a flaw.

However, despite the apparent risk of using these devices, their adoption will continue to increase because they boost efficiency and make work easier. Therefore, security companies must be proactive and have robust security measures before ambient computing becomes global.

One of the ways that security teams can be ahead of this innovation is by conducting more intelligent analysis of the transacted information to respond to the growth and the speed of information. Automation is also needed to close the gap between what security companies can handle and the growing API attack surface.


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