The Risks of Smart Home Technology: Who Else is Listening

Media Division | February 8, 2017

In our highly technological society, there are new innovations being released what seems like every day.  As of late, one of the most impressive and popular technologies is voice-activated, internet-connected personal assistants.  These devices have been extremely popular since their advent last year.  The most common of these devices being Amazon Echo, and Google Home.  Both of which employ artificial intelligence within the devices that can adapt to the user.  And while these devices have great appeal, and impressive capabilities, they also hold the one concern that every new technology brings, and that concern being their potential to be hacked or exploited.

While at this time there have not been any known cases of these devices being hacked, the potential is there.  The reality is that they have not been out that long, and cyber attackers may still be figuring out the best way to breach them.  Or in a more frightening possibility, they have already been breached and it has not been discovered yet.  Both of these possibilities are purely speculation, but were these devices to be hacked, they could be exploited in a couple different ways.

Potential Results from Hacks of These Devices

One main concern when it comes to these devices being exploited is their ability to listen.  These devices of course listen to any commands given to them, but there is also the possibility that someone else could be listening through them.  A cyber attacker could breach a person’s device and listen in on conversations going on around it, and could record it as well.  These types of devices already have recording capabilities that are used by the manufacturer.   Amazon for instance stores recordings of search histories from Echo for the purpose of improving services of the device.

Another potential danger of a breach is a hijacking of the accounts connected to the device, such as an Amazon account connected to Echo. These types of accounts often have credit card information saved.  If a hacker were to breach these devices, they could potentially have access to all of these accounts and data.

While these devices have not been attacked yet, this does not mean that it will not be attempted by cyber criminals.  Several other Internet of Things (IoT) devices have been breached already, which shows the potential that these devices could be targeted as well.  While a person using these types of devices cannot and should not expect complete privacy, there are a couple measures a person can take to prevent unintended listening or recording.

● Muting the Device – There is a mute/unmute button on top of each respective device that can be pressed when the device is not in use.

● Clear History and Recordings – Both the Amazon and Google websites can be used to clear the old searches that you have done through the device.  Google Home has a page where you can add or remove privileges as well.

Employing Effective Data Breach Solutions

A data breach from any source can be potentially detrimental and damaging to an organization, and it can completely cripple the trust of consumers.  When an organization has been the victim of a data breach, it is vital that it is handled appropriately and correctly.  It can have many further effects when not mitigated and remediated properly.  The right handling of a data breach can help an organization to bounce back from it with the least possible damage and backlash from the public.  Massive Alliance offers comprehensive data breach solutions to help organizations to restore their integrity, as well as to help begin to rebuild public trust.

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