IoT Inspector

Helping consumers learn more about their electronic devices and protect themselves

Logo with an animated CCTV camera whose lens is modified to look like an eye

Goals

Many smart home (Internet of Things, IoT) devices have poor security, and some even spy on your conversations. For a typical consumer, however, it is difficult to find out if their devices are safe to use. Most IoT devices are simply blackboxes; many consumers do not even know how these devices work, what data the devices are collecting, and what companies the data are shared with.

We help consumers learn more about their devices and protect themselves. We build IoT Inspector, an open-source tool for Windows, macOS, and Linux, which has attracted more than 5,500 users to inspect 55,000+ of their devices in the past months. Among the users are journalists from Washington Post and National Public Radio (NPR), who used this tool and wrote about poor security and privacy practices in their smart homes. We were also featured in New York TimesTechCrunch and Wired

Research and Design

Our goal is to attract more non-technical consumers to use IoT Inspector for longer periods of time. You can help this open-source project by developing new features and conducting systems, networking, machine learning, and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research. Consider the following project ideas or develop your own.

Systems (S)

  • Developing mobile apps for IoT Inspector
  • Building and testing Windows and macOS installers

Networking (N)

  • Investigating security and privacy of real IoT devices

Machine Learning (ML)

  • Device identification
  • Validation of user labels

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

  • Visualizing network traffic to non-technical users

S + N + ML + HCI

  • Auto-configuring home routers
  • Blocking select network traffic

Methods & Technology

  • Python programming
  • Written & oral communication
  • Big data analytics and visualization, e.g., pandas
  • Development & testing of production systems, e.g., Windows , macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Web development, e.g., JavaScript, HTML, web scraping
  • Systems and networking
  • Security & privacy

Faculty Advisor

  • Danny Huang
  • Email: dhuang@nyu.edu