Ways to Reduce Risks Associated with Smart Home Gadgets
The recent revelation that Amazon Echo Smart speaker recorded and sent a family’s private conservation to a random user sheds light on the risks involved with connected smart home technology. While most of the smart home devices take the worry out of common daily errands, they can also pose some risks inadvertently meaning that you need to think again about the risks of security related with these devices.
As most of the smart gadgets are equipped with cameras and microphones, they can become all vulnerable if they are not programmed appropriately or, in worst case, vulnerable to hacking. So here are some cool ways to minimize the odds and prevent unpleasant surprises.
Disable the Mic
Smart home devices like home assistants have a physical button that will allow the users to disable it to avoid any kind of recording in the first instance. If you want to talk privately with anyone, turn this button off to stop them from recording any private and sensitive conversations. The button on Echo will turn red after switching it off and others will also have similar cues to ensure that they are in safe and non-recording mode. However, it is not practical for a home assistant’s mike to be left turned off throughout the day as this spoils the very purpose.
Many of the apps on your smartphone also have access to mic but still it is not practical to disable the mic on your phone. However, you can limit the access to mic by the apps. Except, voice apps and video conferencing apps, many of the applications do not actually need access to the mic on your phone. So disabling them will decrease the risks of any security. Go to the settings and turn off access to the mic except for essential apps.
Restrict Access to Camera
Mark Zuckerberg said that he puts a tape on his laptop’s camera to prevent anyone from spying on him in case the device gets hacked. Well, if the CEO of Facebook doesn’t shy away from admitting it, it means now is the time that we should buy a tape (or even use a bandage) to cover the camera. Coming to the home security cameras; turn the camera towards the wall as soon as you enter the home if you are getting mischievous (and don’t forget to turn it back into normal position after you’ve done the act). This could also be a case when you are keeping money or jewellery in a safe place.
Blocking the Signals
If you want to shield your smartphone or any other smart gadgets that you carry from any unwanted attention, a faraday bag will be your best bet in data protection and enhanced digital privacy. These bags are made of conducive material and are good at blocking electromagnetic waves and prevent any unwanted spying. These bags will block cellular and other signals meaning that there won’t be any leaks regarding your privacy but you won’t be able to receive any calls or messages either.
Most of the smart home devices come with user manuals explaining everything clearly to the owners about the operating instructions and what the devices can do. The downside is that many owners do not pay much attention to all the things that these devices can do, good or bad. Before buying any gadget for your home, go through online reviews so that you can even come to know about scenarios that you haven’t thought. Also look for instructional videos to better understand their functioning. This will help you in understanding any technical glitches or any risks associated with them.