Is the technology in your home spying on you?
(WGN) We're living in a digital world where being connected is critical to almost everything we do. It's a real plus at work and at home, but is that connection soaking up more than it should?
Tech experts say technology today is watching, copying, and even sharing that information and you may not realize it.
From teapots to toasters to refrigerators, is your technology spying on you?
Jerry Irvine is a member of Homeland Security's Cyber Task Force and the CIO of prescient solutions in the Chicago area. He says home technology is the very thing that allowed for a cyber attack of gigantic proportions to take down major websites like Amazon, Paypal and Twitter last week. And it's not the first time it's happened.
"These things are designed to make it more convenient," he says. "Unfortunately, the more feature rich and the more convenient the device is, the more vulnerable it is."
Irvine says voice activated in-home assistants have microphones that copy information and puts commands on the web on a specific website that manages them.
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"And if someone gets your username and password they can go in and start making controls of their own," he says.
Irvine also says hackers, with access to the camera already installed, could be tracking you even when the TV appears to be off.
"They may not be doing it to gain access to your home as much as to assess the net worth of your environment so they know financially if you should be a target or not," he says.
Irvine says other devices can let suspects know if you are home or not.Apps too can lead to trouble. Irvine says with the thousands of them out there, we typically have no one to blame but ourselves for agreeing to the sometimes lengthy and over reaching terms and agreements. All our information could be shared with advertisers because we agree to it.
So what do you do?
- Turn off all devices when you're not using them
- Change your user IDs and passwords regularly
- Keep all your systems updated
Irvine says the bad guys don't want to invade just your life, they want hundreds of people just like you. We as consumers and users of this technology need to create enough barriers so they give up fast and move to someone else down the block.