Smart home or dumb security risk?

Technology-filled smart homes have come a long way since Rosie the robot housekeeper catered to the Jetsons' needs. But one thing the Jetsons never seemed to worry about was Rosie turning on them or being used as a surveillance device.

While today's smart home mishaps may not be as far-fetched as the Ultrahouse 3000 that terrorized the Simpsons in "Treehouse of Horror XII," they can -- and do -- happen.

Just ask the German computer science professor who rigged up his house so that everything from lights, music, and TV to heating and cooling was connected to the Internet and could be turned on and off remotely. Sounds great, right? Until the house froze up and stopped responding to his commands.

Was a nefarious hacker or rebellious HAL wannabe to blame? No, the culprit was a light fixture that had burned out and was trying to gain the hub's attention by sending continuous requests that overloaded the network -- a classic denial-of-service attack.

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