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The key to your front door can be in your phone

No one will have to break into your smart East Bay home. The key to the front door will be in your phone. The controls to the security system and surveillance cameras will be conveniently located in your phone as well.

Experts say the "smart" features in our wifi- or bluetooth-connected refrigerators, lighting, cars, watches, heating systems and more can easily be hacked by those intent on committing cybercrime.

“You just need a smartphone," said a managing consultant at a cyber security firm. "A lot of these apps are available on the Internet."

Researchers at the University of Michigan took a look at Samsung's SmartThings platform designed for smart homes. The SmartThings app store has about 500 applications from developers outside of Samsung. The researchers altered some of the apps, allowing them to pilfer data from users who downloaded the apps.

The researchers also created a fake battery monitoring app that could record a PIN and transmit it. They made another app that installed new PINs onto phones -- essentially giving hackers a key to the user's front door.

The University of Michigan study showed that locks are among the most easily hacked smart devices. Some locks use voice recognition. Breaking in is pretty simple, said a cyber security expert: “someone just has to yell outside your door.”

We don't know how holes in cybersecurity will be plugged, but we do know that California has stiff penalties for those who are accused and convicted of cybercrimes.

You can discuss evidence and your legal options with an attorney experienced in cybercrime defense.

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