Internet of (Un)Trustworthy Things – Booz Allen Interns Advance IoT Security

Jul 31, 2017 6:00 PM ET

In the third installment in a series about the Booz Allen Hamilton Summer Games internship program, read how interns are tackling the toughest security problems posed by the Internet of Things (IoT).

As more consumers adopt smart home technologies like digital thermostats and smoke detectors, video doorbells, smart locks and personal home assistants, there is a growing need to address the cybersecurity risks posed by system vulnerabilities.

So how do you balance advancing technology for the home with ensuring data privacy? Well, you put a set of creative minds to the challenge: Booz Allen Hamilton’s Summer Games Interns are building solutions to some of the toughest challenges posed by the Internet of Things (IoT).

This summer, three teams of college students are creating ways consumers can safely embrace smart technologies for the home:

  • DIY Smart Home Security
    IoT Network Map team member Grant Smith said, “As more people purchase smart home security devices and intelligent personal assistants like Alexa, it’s more important to ensure those devices are not vulnerable to hackers. Our project has the potential to help users find vulnerabilities in their own networks, and help developers build more secure protocols or advertise to users the risks that their system may have.”
  • A Public Database of App Security Flaws
    Team AppCritique is working to create an easy-to-use application that reverse engineers mobile applications and scans for security flaws, exploits, and vulnerabilities in the app’s code. Team member Callan Cramer said, “Our focus this summer is on finding security flaws in IoT applications, specifically in wireless communications such as Bluetooth and Wifi. We hope to be able to implement our work into the main AppCritique engine, so it can be used autonomously to scan through and find flaws within IoT apps. This will allow for dissemination between safe and unsafe apps on the App Store, and allow us to compile a database of known threats and vulnerabilities.”
  • Out-Hacking Hackers
    Team Smart Home Faceoff is taking a challenge-based approach to identifying vulnerabilities in IoT home networks, with opposing teams challenged either to hack devices or to prevent those hacks. The group set up a private network and connected six smart devices to simulate a smart home. Team member Dylan Yount said, “Using public information from online forums and other resources, we can find vulnerabilities by analyzing the firmware and the devices themselves. While the hacker team – (The Red Team) tries to get private information about a network to disable the devices, The Blue Team counters those efforts, working to detect intrusions and/or preemptively defend against them.”

Currently, there are 80 million smart home products in the marketplace. Whether an at-home voice-controlled assistant is pulling up a dinner receipt, or you are controlling your car through your smart phone, Booz Allen interns are creating solutions that ultimately make these technologies safer and more secure.

Want to learn more about what Booz Allen’s Summer Games interns are up to? Visit: