The digital harms of smart home devices: A systematic literature review

David Buil-Gil*, Steven Kemp, Stefanie Kuenzel, Lynne Coventry, Sameh Zakhary, Daniel Tilley, James Nicholson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


The connection of home electronic devices to the internet allows remote control of physical devices and involves the collection of large volumes of data. With the increase in the uptake of Internet-of-Things home devices, it becomes critical to understand the digital harms of smart homes. We present a systematic literature review on the security and privacy harms of smart homes. PRISMA methodology is used to systematically review 63 studies published between January 2011 and October 2021; and a review of known cases is undertaken to illustrate the literature review findings with real-world scenarios. Published literature identifies that smart homes may pose threats to confidentiality (unwanted release of information), authentication (sensing information being falsified) and unauthorised access to system controls. Most existing studies focus on privacy intrusions as a prevalent form of harm against smart homes. Other types of harms that are less common in the literature include hacking, malware and DoS attacks. Digital harms, and data associated with these harms, may vary extensively across smart devices. Most studies propose technical measures to mitigate digital harms, while fewer consider social prevention mechanisms. We also identify salient gaps in research, and argue that these should be addressed in future crossdisciplinary research initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107770
Number of pages15
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date28 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

Cite this