Many of us start our day asking Alexa or Siri for the weather forecast, the news headlines, or directions.
Using smart speakers for information or to control other home devices is convenient. But what if those devices allowed someone to monitor you? British security researcher Mark Barnes made headlines in 2017 when he used a modified Amazon Echo to hack into other Amazon Echos, enabling him to secretly stream audio from the hacked devices.
While the hack took a high skill level and required him to physically access the targeted Echos, Barnes' demonstration hits close to home for the 47.3 million — or one in five — adults in the U.S. with access to a smart speaker.
During October, which is “National Cyber Security Month,” it's a good time to look at the smart devices around you and take steps to ensure they won't allow a cybercriminal to stalk you.
Opening Your Door
Any device in your home that uses electricity can be part of a home network and commanded by voice, remote control, tablet, or smartphone. These devices communicate with each other and the internet using wireless protocols such as Z–Wave, ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, comprising the Internet of Things, or IoT.
Gartner predicts that a typical home could contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022, growth spurred by the falling cost of sensors and emerging technology platforms.
“Every internet–connected device is an entry point to your home and should be secured,” advises Richard Hill, vice president for Industry Technology for the Mortgage Bankers Association.
When selecting a service, it's important that you get products that fit your needs, while limiting exposure points. And if you're using a home monitoring service, you should understand how information that is being collected about you is being used.
To protect your devices, your hub, and your privacy, experts suggest the following steps, repeating each time you add devices or change service providers.