These days, everything is about being connected to the internet. There are even high tech refrigerators that can be connected online so that you can remotely view inside the fridge to see if you need to buy anything or turn on/off the ice maker and whatnot.
However, the most worrisome of the Internet of Things products are those that have microphones and cameras.
Nanny and Security Cameras
You should know by now that nanny cams are one of the easiest and most common way for hackers, and even non-hackers, to view inside your house if you don’t set up the security of the products correctly.
Seriously, there’s even a search engine (not Google) that makes it easy for regular people like you and I to find open and unprotected IP cams such as those nanny cams or even security cameras inside your house.
I won’t name that search engine but these days it’s ridiculous how easy it is for people to spy on you. They don’t even have to be near you to plant a listening device. You are the ones buying the devices and putting them in your home that make it easy for people to spy on you.
For the ones that are password protected, the hackers can get the IP address of your camera and voila, they’re inside your house. The biggest reason is that many people do not change the default password when they set it up. Just like your Wi-Fi at home, always change the default admin password to something unique. This is the number one way people hack into your Wi-Fi.
Little do people know that connected toys you buy for your kids can also serve as listening devices for these hackers.
Most parents wouldn’t even think that they need to set up security for a toy. But when it’s connected online and it’s got a microphone or camera, be wary.
If the toy doesn’t have any security setup but needs to be connected to your Wi-Fi so that it has access to some AI or whatnot for interacting with your kids, BE WARY.
There are also toy dolls that have embedded cameras so that they react to movement. If they can be connected online, DON’T DO IT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO. Those embedded cameras again can be used to spy on you.
This is the new fad for many people, the Smart Speakers such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.
I had an Amazon Echo for a bit. I didn’t stop using it because of privacy concerns. I stopped using it due to its limited functionality and the fact that the AI is like talking to a baby. It still has a long ways to go before I find them useful.
Besides that, if I had kept the Amazon Echo, I would only keep it in my living room. If anybody hacks in, they can feel free to listen in on the TV shows I’m watching at that time.
My Final Thoughts
It may seem like I’m telling you to stay away from the Internet of Things connected devices, but I’m actually not. I’m saying to be wary. Set them up properly and understand that they may not be 100% safe.
In reality, there is no 100% safety in anything. If a hacker really wanted to get you, they would be able to even if you set crazy long passwords. But what are the odds of you being a high value target anyway, right? Are you Bill Gates?
Besides, these days you almost can’t get away from devices that need to be connected online. Internet of Things is here to stay. Just be mindful and stay safe.