Published November 19, 2019
Technology is constantly evolving, and consumers continuously push for convenience over privacy. While you may appreciate that convenience, your devices are collecting an immense amount of personal data in the process.
Any object or device that sends and/or receives data via the Internet is considered part of The Internet of Things (IoT).
These devices typically contain tracking chips, tags, sensors, and the ability to share information machine to machine.
The Internet of Things includes:
Many of the devices you use daily are constantly collecting your data using sensing devices that can talk to other machines and trigger certain actions.
These devices may be very convenient, but it requires that we share more information than ever.
The security of your devices and the information you share with them are not always guaranteed. Criminals can program your devices to attack others or can collect a vast amount of information about your activities.
According to Tara Copp from Military Times, deployed service members are not allowed to use fitness tracking apps or wearable technology, because these devices can expose location of bases using geolocation data.
Your devices can (and most likely are) tracking your location. Even with geolocation services turned off, your location is never secure. As long as you have cell service, it is possible to tell where you are based on your nearest cell tower.
Your service carrier (Verizon, Sprint, etc.) have discretion over what cell-site information they record and how long they keep it.
Devices such as the Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri can record sensitive conversations. It is even possible that humans are listening to them on the other side.
According to Taylor Mahlandt from Slate Magazine, there have been several instances where companies were accused of listening to conversations recorded by voice command devices:
Tips for protecting your private conversations:
To disable voice command services, use the following steps:
Alexa– Open the Amazon Alexa app and select Settings. Selecting Alexa Privacy and Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa will bring you to a screen of the updated explanation of the policy. Uncheck the box labeled "Help Improve Amazon Services and Develop New Features" to ensure that no recordings will be used for human review.
Siri– In iOS go to Settings > Siri & Search. Turn off Listen for ‘Hey, Siri’ and Press Side Button for Siri. Select Turn Off Siri. Next, go to Settings > General > Keyboard. Turn off Dictation.
Google– In your Google Home app, go to Account > More settings > Your data in the assistant > Voice & Audio Activity. Deactivate voice and audio recording using the toggle on that screen.
Devices such as fridges, stoves, thermostats, and toasters that connect to the internet provide a possibility for a digital home invasion.
According to The Detroit News, a family woke up due to a strange voice coming from their baby monitor. Not only was this cyber-criminal watching their child, but the family’s multiple Nest cameras and even their thermostat were hacked into as well.
You may wonder why someone would take the time to hack into your toaster…but it happens. A cyber-criminal can use your toaster to start a fire in your house.
The more appliances you have connected to the Internet, the more opportunities you provide for intruders to infiltrate networks or plant malware.
Be sure to regularly update your devices and their apps. If possible, enable the option to update automatically.