Smart appliances may be too smart for our own good. Take smart TVs, for instance. As this article illustrates, some of these new appliances are particularly vulnerable to hackers. Once compromised, the TVs allow access to account information, including login credentials (which owners may use for access to more than just their smart-TV account).
Even scarier, hackers could gain access to front-facing cameras to see everything happening in the room where the TV is connected. Instead of you watching your favorite program, criminals may be watching you! This may also apply to Skype webcams, X-box and other games with webcams (Kinect, Wii, PS, etc), laptops and security cameras.
Once the machine is compromised, hackers can stealthily activate its front-facing camera (available on higher-end smart TVs), hijack a Samsung account, steal credentials by presenting fake login pages and infect other applications on the TV with malware.
Your App is Watching
When you download an app, it tells you it can work better or give you personalized offers or other things you might like if you switch Location Services on. For example, a dining recommendations app might offer you a coupon when you walk past a restaurant. Are there other types of apps that might want your location? What types of offers would make it a worthwhile exchange for you? Do you think this is useful or Creepy? For more examples, see “Helpful or Creepy? The Creep-O-Meter Could Help You Find Out” and try the ‘Creep-o-Meter’ activity.
Tools and programs like the Creep-o-Meter can help digital citizens be more privacy aware and own their online presence. Remember these STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tips when you use social media, play online games and engage with other technology platforms and tools.
- Share with care: what you post can last a lifetime: Before posting online think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.
- Learn about and use privacy and security settings on your favorite online games, apps and platforms.
- Be aware of what’s being shared: Be aware that when you share a post, picture or video online, you may also be revealing information about others. Be thoughtful about when and how you share information about others.
- Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it. Be thoughtful about who gets your personal information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.
Tip: When you are not using the webcam, unplug it!
- Use a hard wired LAN connection from PC to Smart TV – often more secure than using wireless networking (as wireless is often not installed securely, either).
- Unplug the Ethernet cable and/or delete the wireless network connection settings.
- Put tape over the camera and inbuilt mic if included, and put a blank 3.5″ plug into any mic input sockets.
- Don't allow your Smart TV access to any other devices on your network (laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets).
- Don't log in from your TV to any websites that have sensitive information
- DON'T re-use passwords on any other sites, especially not high-value sites like banking or email.
Privacy for Everyone: Closing the Gap Between the Privacy-Have's and the Privacy Have-Nots Address by Patricia Kosseim, Senior General Counsel and Director General, Legal Services, Policy and Research Branch, (June 2014)
Rebecca Herold (a.k.a. The Privacy Professor) for more tips.
‘Technocreep' author says new technologies have been invading our privacy like never before , CBC interview, The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti and Tom Keenan
WeLiveSecurity. ESET 10 Steps to Staying Secure on Public Wi-Fi. 2015-Sep-02