Despite the growing number of benefits provided by smart technologies privacy and security issues are still real. And while we love the idea of ​​a smart home, it’s one of the many things to be aware of before diving into smart home.

The truth is that smart devices may not be as secure as advertised systems may not be as secure as they may not be as secure as and at this point in history there are several types of devices that you can avoid connecting to the Internet of Things If you let them track your data, who knows how it could be used against you.

For example, did you know that police officers in 2014 gained access to and used smart home material in a lawsuit? We have to be careful about what our smart devices actually know about us, otherwise we could be overwhelmed by even worse scenarios.

Videos of home activities

One of the most obvious security concerns is video, the irony is that security-related devices most often use video technology. And frankly, using home surveillance cameras has a number of advantages.

But there are also many dangers. For example, an Internet-connected outdoor security camera is useful because you can check it at any time from anywhere in the world, but if an online hacker managed to eavesdrop on the video stream, he could determine where you live.

Or, even worse, someone could inadvertently spy on you due to a glitch in the system that replaces your video stream with someone else’s channel, as was the case in this Skybell horror story on Reddit.

And if that’s not bad enough, videotapes are arguably more intimidating than video streams. Security cameras usually record and store footage so you can review it later if needed, but smart services are moving to the cloud, which means these videos are not stored by you, but by companies.

It’s creepy to think that someone else might have a video archive of you and your family in your living room. Taken to the extreme, as shown in the tweet above, companies can even one day blackmail and extort users. based on this material.

Your conversations in the living room

From a privacy perspective, microphones are scarier than camcorders for two reasons: first, they can potentially pick up sound from any direction instead of pointing at something specific, and second, you’re more likely to be in the presence of a microphone than a camcorder at any time.

And if you’re within range of the microphone, it can intercept your conversations even if you think the microphone is muted.

In 2013, it was announced that all new Android smartphones will come with an Open Mic feature that is always listening so it can recognize «OK Google» voice commands. Anytime. The same feature appeared on the iPhone in 2015, also constantly listening to «Hey Siri» voice commands.

However, for smart home users, this «always listening» feature is most prominent in the personal assistant. and in voice smart TVs — two devices that can be within reach of any conversation in the living room. Samsung even warned users about this in early 2015.

To be clear, we are not saying that these devices record everything you say. We’re just saying that the technology for this already exists, and if we’re not careful, these smart devices could allow someone to listen in on personal matters.

Your media consumption habits

Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and a whole host of other online streaming services, scissors are starting to come out on top. And when it comes to smart living in the 21st century, anyone who doesn’t have a multimedia transmission will be left soon.

smart devices-personal-data media

But here’s the interesting bit: Until recently, TV networks never knew what you were watching. Rather, television ratings and viewership were estimated using the Nielsen polling method. because televisions have always been a one-way channel — they have never been able to «report» your media habits.

Now that we’re streaming directly from services like Netflix and Hulu, companies may know the exact numbers, which means that our TV and movie viewing habits are easily tracked. Add to that cookies that track our browsing habits. cookie and you will realize that nothing is really more private.

How often are you away from home

One thing that makes smart home automation so useful is the ability to integrate devices with your real-time location. For example, it is enough just to turn on the light at the moment when you arrive home then which can even lead to a safer and more secure home. at home. ensure safety and reliability

This is made possible by the always-on GPS location function. which is available in most smartphones today. And even if you don’t use the actual GPS location function, your position can still be extrapolated using cellular and Wi-Fi data.

smart devices personal data location

Some smart devices may actually use this data to learn about your travel patterns. When are you usually at home? When are you usually away from home? A device like the Nest Learning Thermostat can even recognize these patterns without GPS.

If a hacker/robber had access to this information, they could determine the time you were likely away from home and use that window of opportunity to hack. Or if you are ever suspected of a crime, the data may exonerate or indict you.

Your health and wellness

Fitness is another area where smart devices are getting big, especially devices that fall under the category of wearable technology. And, as expected, wearables come with their own security risks. what you need to worry about.

Some gadgets, in combination with apps, can record your treadmills. Other gadgets such as the Jawbone UP3 can track your dietary routines help you come help you come There are even devices that can know your medication needs and remind you when your next dose is up.

In most cases, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if this data were leaked, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be as nice either.

The sad part is that fitness sensors can actually improve your workouts. fitness sensors fitness sensors , and when used correctly, certain wearables can make you healthier. wearable But as long as the privacy issue remains, most people should probably stay away from these gadgets.

Data files on disks and devices

When it comes to security, smart TVs don’t have a good reputation. Camera peeping, malware infection, and unauthorized data collection have all happened at one time or another. Think about this the next time you plug a USB drive into your Smart TV.

smart devices personal-data-files

The takeaway here is that you should be wary of any data storage or reading device that has an Internet connection. Smart TVs are the obvious scapegoat, but other devices such as wireless hard drives are. should raise some flags.

Your accounts and passwords

After all, smart devices know a lot more about you than you might think. This is especially true if your smart devices are integrated with things like email accounts, bank accounts, and credit card numbers.

For example, smart credit cards allow you to combine all of your individual cards into a single card. for convenience, but do you trust the issuer of this smart credit card to keep your information safe? Or what about IFTTT, which many people use to integrate smart devices? about things like social media and Google Calendar?

This isn’t a new risk — services like Mint require you to trust them enough to enter bank details — but it’s still very real.

What issues scare you the most?

We’re not trying to scare you away from smart home automation. In fact, we really like it and can’t wait to see how the Internet of Things will continue to evolve. Our goal here is to raise awareness of possible current weaknesses such as those listed above.

If you are still interested in smart home, remember that smart home is cheaper than you think. especially when you consider ways to save energy and money. , and some devices can even add value to your home. devices can add value to your home. devices can add value to your home. It’s worth seeing.

Considering how much personal data can be tracked, which part of this article worries you the most? Does it turn you off from smart devices in general? Share your thoughts with us below!

Image credits: Netflix on laptop by lculig via Shutterstock, biker on phone by Rasulov via Shutterstock, USB drive by You More via Shutterstock

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