The Major Smart Devices with Security Issues in 2020
By Johan Curtis 9 minutes
The aspect of a smart home is immensely appealing. The Internet of Things technology has taken over the modern world by introducing a bunch load of smart devices which we can’t seem to live without. From basic security frameworks to even light bulbs; they’re all connected to the internet.
Some of you may not exactly know what the Internet of Things is so let’s start by giving you a brief description.
Internet of Things
The Internet of things (IoT) is an accumulation of connected processing gadgets. Mechanical and advanced machines are given unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to move information over a system without needing human-to-human or human-to-PC contact.
Almost anything can be turned into an IoT device, thanks to the rapid technological advancements, by adding a few sensors or connecting certain devices to the internet makes them digitally smarter enabling them to communicate data without the help of a human. An IoT device can also be called a smart device such as a Smart TV, Smart Watch, etc.
How Smart Devices Work?
Basically, as we’ve established, a smart device is anything that can be connected to the internet. It is pretty easy to analyze how they work as well; your Wi-Fi connects to the installed software on the device sends a signal for a particular action or process.
The question that surfaces, however, is that even though the idea of having a complete smart home is appealing, is it completely safe?
Are Smart Devices Completely Safe?
Smart homes employ internet-connected devices, such as smart bulbs, fridges, doors, or even alarm systems. Even though it may seem fascinating, it all comes at a price; smart devices are prone to several security risks that can end up putting your personal information at risk.
Your smart devices hold a great deal of personal data, from your passwords to your locations and credentials that can easily be stolen through hackers hijacking your system.
Here’s a list of 12 devices that are the most prone to security breaches:
- Security Cameras: One of the most vulnerable devices in your house is your security cameras; 47% of hacking cases are reported about security cameras. By hacking into your security footage, the hacker gets a live view of your home, due to which not only can they monitor your actions such as your entries and exits. They can also easily locate valuable items and there places- leading to a potential robbery. Similarly, they can also use those cameras to speak to you and blackmail you in ways. We’d suggest keeping your security in check and taking preventive measures.
- Smart TV:A hacker could easily intercept your Smart TV software and gain access to any files or information stored on it, they could easily b trace your passwords and any other credentials you enter, as well as access any external drives attached to the TV such as an USB etc.
- Voice Assistants: Voice assistants such as Amazon Echo or the Google Home device are usually launched with voice recognition, but in order to understand and hear those words they are also constantly listening to whatever you’re saying before interacting with the device. These devices could easily be hacked and used to record a confidential conversation or listen in to certain conversations by the hacker which can later be used against the person.
- Smart Fridges: We’ve made everything ‘smart’ to make our lives easier; but honestly, it might just be doing the opposite. Hackers could easily intercept the system on such smart devices and use it to spy on you and your family’s activities only to use it against you in the future.
- Smart Watches: Since smartwatches are mainly used to track your steps, keep your exercise in check; it can easily provide a hacker with the information about whether you are currently out on a run, or resting at home. It may also give them access to your whereabouts etc. which, in reality, is very alarming because this could easily lead up to a robbery.
- Smart Toys: Now, we understand that these toys are supposed to keep children away from screens and more interested in physically playing. However, the problem that surfaces with such toys are that they have little to no security measures because manufacturers tend not to pay too much attention to it, although these toys can easily be hacked and used to spy on families and the conversations they’re having.
- Smart LED Lights: We’re sure you’ve seen the trending lights which change brightness settings with the help of a remote, or change colors according to your mood. Well, here’s a warning, it wouldn’t be the best idea to invest in them. Since it is such a small item, most manufacturers do not pay attention to the security of such items, which makes them easier to hack and use as spy gadgets.
- Smart Kitchen Appliances: Apart from fridges, there are numerous devices that now have the option to be connected to the Wi-Fi, such as coffee makers. Even though it may sound luxurious and fancy; we’re not so sure how safe it is to buy them. They pose really high-security threats and can easily be intercepted.
- Baby Monitors: Even those extra fancy baby monitors aren’t safe, the video footage on the monitor can easily be compromised and replaced with other footage, or it could be used a means to spy on you.
- Video Doorbells: We understand that being able to see who has come to your house may make you feel more safe and protected, however, that’s not entirely true. The video on your doorbell is an easy way for hackers to intercept your system.
- Smart Thermostat: You may like the idea of having a smart thermostat, one which automatically changes the heating and cooling settings for you, according to the room. Although, it may sound nice but is actually quite risky since it is not guaranteed to have high security and is susceptible to hacks.
- Smart Vacuums: Automatic vacuums which move around the entire house and clean it for you, doesn’t it sound appealing? Don’t you want to follow up on trends and get one also? Although, it wouldn’t it be so wise in jumping on the bandwagon. These devices and the motion sensors on them can easily be hacked and used against you.
What are The Security Risks?
Listed above are few of the very prominent devices that could easily be compromised in your household, in order emphasize the severity of this situation, we will further explain what are some of the risks that you could face under a breach of security.
- Such cases of hacking could lead to identity theft as the hacker will have access to your passwords and other confidential information.
- Robberies as they can track what time you’re in the house and when you’re out.
- Confidential voice/video recordings since they will have access to camera footage or voice assistants and can watch or hear whatever you’re doing which could also be used as blackmail.
- Location tracking is also very possible through hacking and could cause you physical harm.
- They could even manipulate with your existing data and change it to whatever they prefer.
How to Prevent Security Breaches?
There are several ways you can minimize the misuse of a smart device. The first and foremost being that one should be smart enough to not unnecessarily splurge on smart devices which are not really needed, such as we can easily make do without smart light bulbs or kitchen appliances, there is no need for them to be connected to the internet, they tend to function just right even without it.
Contrastingly, if you already have the said device and want an effective way to prevent hacking, there are a few precautions that you could take:
- Don’t always be connected to Wi-Fi- it is unnecessary to keep your apps connected all the time, when you’re not using the internet you should turn it off so a hacker cannot gain access.
- Turn off your location- some apps request to access your location, it is your safest option to not share location with any apps or devices at all times. Use it whenever it is needed, and disconnect as soon as you’re done so it doesn’t give anyone else the chance to trace your location.
- Turn off devices or disable MICs and cameras- devices such as Google home are always listening to your conversation in the background, if on. It is important to turn them off when they’re not in use so you can make sure no one is listening to you. Same goes for video monitoring devices.
- Update your software- newer versions always bring bug fixes, which makes your security stronger as previous faults are fixed. Older versions are the most prone to hacking attempts.
- Install a VPN with a Firewall- in our opinion, the most reliable in all these options is installing a VPN along with a strong Firewall. A VPN will make sure to protect your anonymity online and also prevent hackers from being able to view your IP address; similarly, your Firewall will protect you from viewing malicious content and warn you about particular threats. If you are looking for an effective and efficient VPN, we recommend FastestVPN! With its guarantee at extra security and protection, we assure you that you’re in good hands.
Note: We also understand that it may not be possible to set up a VPN on all the smart devices, which is why you can always install FastestVPN directly onto your Wi-Fi router so that all your devices are automatically protected.
It is not always wise to want to follow trends and keep up with all things ‘smart’. Sometimes it is better to stick to the traditional versions of devices as their simplicity is what makes them so much easier and reliable to use.
We hope that by reading this you were easily able to understand the threats that certain smart gadgets possess and that this helped you in eliminating those said threats. Make sure to be connected to a VPN and Firewall at all times.