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Your security is my security

Everything Set exists to make sure people can enjoy the benefits of smart devices in their homes without having to compromise their privacy and data security. For the past two years, we’ve been working to bring our vision of “Intelligent Security for the Smart Home” to life.

During that time, we’ve come to a realization. It may sound obvious, but we’re all in this together. Even if our own homes are protected, we ultimately share the costs of data hacks and cyber-attacks. Those costs may appear in the form of higher prices. And they definitely contribute to a collective sense of vulnerability and actual vulnerability for each of us.

One quote we heard recently at an information security conference: ‘In a hyperconnected world, your security is my security.’ This really hit home for us. Like a neighborhood watch helps everyone in a neighborhood, Everything Set aims to help each user by helping all of its users.

Protected home
Protected home

The promise (and peril) of smart homes

We’re super excited about all the amazing things that smart devices can do to improve our lives. Who wouldn’t be? And we’re not just talking about smart speakers or thermostats. For example, smart devices are revolutionizing healthcare. And the author of this blog post was able to track his 16-year-old son driving home Saturday night – and let him know that he needed to slow down.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to pay such a steep price for these technical advances. But the reality is that our smart devices are at risk, and the number of privacy and data security breaches continues to increase. The nature of cyber-attacks means that one problem can cascade into multiple problems. A hacked device is a platform into a home—which can be used to map and observe for other vulnerabilities: when are you home? when are you away? do you have a PC with a vulnerability that accesses your financial data? what is your identity? who are your kids? could you be an unwitting participant in a DDoS (denial of service attack)? The hacker’s goal is to burrow into your home and find out as much information about your personal and professional life as possible.

Your devices are constantly sending data up to the cloud, often to data centers and locations overseas. Meanwhile, everyone else’s devices are doing the same thing. Your home is part of a network of billions of devices sending data and information all around the world at the same time.

The inconvenient truth is our devices (and therefore your data) exist in a global wild west. There are no standardized regulations and practices governing device design or data transmission. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, to learn that device manufacturers can take short cuts. For example, data that is transmitted to the cloud can be unencrypted. To make matters worse, the devices themselves are often poorly engineered for security and may have baked in vulnerabilities that can be exploited in the future. Most of them also have very small hardware footprints, which means their firmware doesn’t have the space to have additional security measures embedded within.

The bottom line is that your smart devices provide a potential access point into your home. You can’t know who is watching and there’s no digital lock and key for your devices. Once your data leaves your home, there’s no way of further tracking it.

By the people, for the people.

Everything Set functions through the robustness of crowdsourcing. Our entire model is community driven: we crowdsource anonymized communications data to build thousands of automatically updating device profiles. These profiles continue to become more nuanced and precise the more the Everything Set community grows and develops. These profiles then allow us to detect strange device behaviors instantly, so we can immediately help our users fix them.

Our approach is to learn device behaviors better than anyone, to understand the global network of devices, determine how each device should be behaving, and identify when there is an aberration. In short, we provide a community-facilitated solution to a community-wide threat. It’s a uniquely harmonious balance—if the threats change, whether in sophistication, approach, multitude (and they always will), we’ll be simultaneously learning about them in real time, growing our knowledge and improving your security.

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