Smart Use of Smart Devices in Your Home: A Smart Home Security and Privacy Workshop for the General Public


Tushar Jois, Tina Pavlovich, Brigid McCarron, David Kotz, and Timothy Pierson. Smart Use of Smart Devices in Your Home: A Smart Home Security and Privacy Workshop for the General Public. Proceedings of the ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), pages 611–617. ACM, March 2024. doi:10.1145/3626252.3630925. ©Copyright ACM.


With 'smart' technology becoming more prevalent in homes, computing is increasingly embedded into everyday life. The benefits are well-advertised, but the risks associated with these technologies are not as clearly articulated. We aim to address this gap by educating community members on some of these risks, and providing actionable advice to mitigate risks. To this end, we describe our efforts to design and implement a hands-on workshop for the public on smart-home security and privacy.

Our workshop curriculum centers on the smart-home device lifecycle: obtaining, installing, using, and removing devices in a home. For each phase of the lifecycle, we present possible vulnerabilities along with preventative measures relevant to a general audience. We integrate a hands-on activity for participants to put best-practices into action throughout the presentation.

We ran our designed workshop at a science museum in June 2023, and used participant surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of our curriculum. Prior to the workshop, 38.8% of survey responses did not meet learning objectives, 22.4% partially met them, and 38.8% fully met them. After the workshop, only 9.2% of responses did not meet learning objectives, while 29.6% partially met them and 61.2% fully met them. Our experience shows that consumer-focused workshops can aid in bridging information gaps and are a promising form of outreach.

Citable with [BibTeX]

Projects: [splice]

Keywords: [education] [iot] [security]

Available from the publisher: [DOI]

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[Kotz research]