Could Hackers Be Listening In Through Your IoT Devices

Media Division | January 27, 2017

The world of Internet of Things (IoT) devices continues to expand and grow every single day.  We have cars, toys, and even refrigerators that are now connected to the internet.  One of the latest and greatest IoT devices that many are purchasing and enjoying are voice activated, personal assistants such as Google Home, or Amazon Echo.  While these devices are all the rage, this piece of smart home technology brings new risks, just like all newer technology can.

When it comes to these types of devices, the main concern that security experts have is the extent that they are listening and recording.  Of course, any user uttered commands are listened for, but what else could be being heard by the device?

As a potential example, Arkansas police are currently investigating a murder involving the strangling of a man, and they are hoping the Amazon Echo device in the house will be able to assist with the investigation.  There are instances where these types of devices can be unintentionally triggered into listening by a TV or radio, or perhaps just a conversation going on nearby, and police are hoping it may have inadvertently recorded something useful.  Amazon does store recordings from the devices on their servers as a way to improve their services.  Whether this device had recorded anything useful is uncertain, as Amazon has refused to release that kind of customer information to the authorities.

The potential of Amazon Echo, Google Home, or other such devices to record information like this brings up the question of whether it could be breached or exploited.  Hackers are always looking for new ways to exploit individuals and organizations, and certain types of IoT devices have already been breached previously.  If a hacker were to access one of these devices, not only could they potentially listen to and record any nearby conversation, but they could also hijack accounts associated with the devices, such as an Amazon account.

How to Defend Your Device

Years ago, attacks on IoT devices were purely discussed as a potential future threat, but now they are very real, and it may only be a short time before personal assistant devices become targets.  There are a few methods you can use to help defend your device:

● When not using the device, press the mute button on top of it.
● Do not connect several important accounts to the device.
● Use the Google or Amazon website to clear search histories and manage permissions.

As the future brings more connected IoT devices, it is critical to defend them from exploit.  Whether an organization needs to prevent IoT device breaches, or other types of exploits, Massive Alliance offers several services to prevent cyber attacks.

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