The software bug in HomeKit can apparently allow bad actors to control accessories in smart homes.
Following the news of Apple’s recent security flaw in High Sierra OS for Macs, news has broken of a zero-day vulnerability in the firm’s HomeKit.
According to 9to5Mac, a flaw in the current version of iOS 11.2 could theoretically allow unauthorised individuals access to smart accessories such as smart locks and garage doors, using the home automation platform. 9to5Mac described the vulnerability as “difficult to reproduce” and said it also affected other smart accessories such as lights and thermostats.
The issue was not with the smart accessories, but with the HomeKit framework itself, which connects products from a broad range of companies together in a single interface. The details of the vulnerability itself are scant, but it required at least one iPhone or iPad running iOS 11.2 connected to the HomeKit user’s iCloud account.
Apple quick to remedy the HomeKit issue
Apple has released a temporary server-side fix that remedies the issue. On the user end, nothing needs to be done, but they will notice that the ‘remote access to shared users’ feature for HomeKit-connected devices has been disabled temporarily.
A full patch that completely solves the issue will arrive early next week along with the next iOS update.
The discovery of this vulnerability highlights existing concerns around smart home devices, and the general need for more robust protocols in terms of IoT, particularly in a domestic setting.
It also raises questions for Apple in terms of its own security-auditing process for its operating systems and products, especially considering its otherwise positive reputation as a technology vendor and innovator. Bugs are not uncommon in the development process but when it comes to home security, a certain level of trust is required in order to get customers on board.
More than 50 brands worldwide are compatible with HomeKit, including some models of Honeywell thermostats, the August smart lock and Chamberlain MyQ Home Bridge, a garage-door opener.