Cyber Concerns and Professional Liability Risk Advisors

Hacker on Laptop

Real estate agents have to be concerned with cyber crime threats, due in large part to the new technology being placed into homes to make life easier and more convenient for homeowners. If a person can control their alarm system, door locks, thermostat and other products in their homes via their smartphone, how long would it take a hacker to figure out how to accomplish this as well? Professional liability risk advisors want real estate agents to be aware of these exposures and may provide coverage for any potentially damaging lawsuits resulting from such a breach.


Japanese-manufactured LIXIL has created a smart toilet, Satis, which is extremely expensive (as much as about $6,000), and not readily available in the U.S. Researchers at the security firm Trustwave reverse-engineered an Android app for the Bluetooth-controlled Satis. It probably won’t be long before U.S. residents can also have access to this type of technology. While the question remains why on earth anyone would ever want to connect a toilet to the Internet for the purpose of recording a “toilet diary,” even more disconcerting is why a person would want to hack a smart toilet.


There are people out there that have made it there job to prove that they can gain access to practically anything that is controlled or accessible via a computer. It is there way of showing that it’s vulnerable and it helps those in the business of halting cyber crimes to understand these new security risks associated with smart devices connected to the web.


Advantages of hacking a Satis smart toilet


An attacker targeting this device could simply download the “My Satis” application and use it to cause the toilet to flush repeatedly; raising water usage and along with it utility costs to its owner. Attackers could also cause the unit to open and close the lid repeatedly, activate bidet or air-dry functions, all causing extreme discomfort or distress to the owner.


While this may be viewed as nothing more than a prank, it does raise the question of what other security risks might exist if an attacker could easily access other items inside the home. The point here is that cyber threats are a real concern, both as a privacy issue, and also the threat of financial losses. Professional liability risk advisors can help real estate agents address these important coverage issues.


photo credit: Ian Sane cc