The problem with smart homes? They are just not all that loyal. A recent HomeKit bug would have allowed just about anyone to take control of the “brain” of one of your connected devices, rendering your smart home … smart on someone else’s behalf. The bug was initially reported by 9to5Mac on Thursday, December 7, and it affected iOS 11.2. Apparently, the bug would have allowed hackers to access any connected smart home device and make adjustments at will — you could have had light bulbs flickering on and off, thermostats set to crazy temperatures, or worst of all, locks being tampered with — all digitally.
Luckily, Apple has since addressed the bug with a software update. Initially, the company disabled remote HomeKit access for shared users, which limited functionality, but an update to iOS 11.2 will be coming next week to offer a more permanent fix.
9to5Mac noted that the vulnerability was indeed “difficult to reproduce,” but it did allow “unauthorized control of HomeKit-connected accessories including smart lights, thermostats, and plugs.” And of course, the most concerning aspect was the possibility of hackers taking control of smart locks, garage door openers, and other security devices.
The bug only appeared to be active for folks with an iPhone or iPad on iOS 11.2, the most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Earlier iOS versions appeared to be unaffected by the bug.
Apple was reportedly informed about this alarming vulnerability late in October, but did not completely fix all the issues when the latest operating systems were released. But now, Apple seems to be taking the problem to heart.
The company shared a statement regarding the vulnerability, noting simply, “The issue affecting HomeKit users running iOS 11.2 has been fixed. The fix temporarily disables remote access to shared users, which will be restored in a software update early next week.”
While this bug is clearly concerning, 9to5Mac notes that bugs are a reality in software. But as long as companies take action immediately and responsibly, there shouldn’t be any lingering concerns. After all, hasn’t your life gotten so much better now that you can control everything without getting off your couch?