Technology has had a significant impact on our lives. From being able to connect with our loved ones thousands of miles away to ordering food from a nearby restaurant, it has certainly revolutionized our world in copious ways. Let’s explain what is the risk associated with smart technology.
Everything has two sides, and it is not any different with technology. Hence inevitably with the many positive things that it brings, it also brings negatives, especially in networked devices such as the very router/modem that sits in your home.
What is the risk associated with smart technology used in networked devices?
Smart technology has various disadvantages which vary risk in our daily lives.
Data & identity theft :
The deplorable act of identity and data stealing is one of the biggest problems that a lot of people face with the coming of smart technology used in networked devices. In 2017 alone, there were 16.7 million cases of identity fraud reported, meaning 16.7 million people’s data and identities were stolen and exploited by hackers and/or scammers for their own financial gain.
In many situations, these frauds took place when the hackers intercepted or hacked into the signals of the network devices or modern home appliances in their homes, workplaces, restaurants, or wherever they may have signed into a network.
However, not only can your credit card information, name, and address be stolen, but your phone activity, who you have texted, the content of those texts, and your calls can also be stolen. In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg, founder, and CEO of Facebook faced the United States Senate and public outlash when it was revealed that they had been improperly harvesting user data and data sharing. This certainly puts all social media users at a worry for their privacy as almost all of our activity is monitorable whether it is online or in real life.
Power outages and system failures:
Many smart home appliances and security systems are reliant on the internet. However, the internet needs electricity to run. In the occurrence of power outages or loss of connection to the internet, the security systems are not able to relay information and data that is stored within the server meaning that entire home security is vulnerable to having its data stolen by many malicious hackers. This occurs because there is no provided connection to a security monitoring center which is used to keep everything private.
Whenever the security systems are once again provided with the internet, it can keep your information safe. Although power outages are uncommon, in the slight chance that it does occur, it leaves your entire home insecure and susceptible to a lot of harm.
Scammers and cyberattacks:
Phishing, spoofing, and farming are just some of the techniques used to scam internet users of their information. We have all received or seen those advertisements and emails that say “Congratulations! You have won $1M!” or “You are our lucky winner! Click here to receive 20 free iPhone 12s”. Almost identical to pharming, this is called phishing and it is the most used tactic for scamming to steal money from you. They may ask for your phone number or chat with you through a messaging application to earn your trust and deceive you into providing them with your bank information which they will later use to reap money from.
Though almost everyone nowadays is aware of this technique, when it was first introduced, many users fell victim to these scammers and had thousands of dollars stolen. Pharming, however, is when you are redirected to a replicated website of a well-known platform to input your information in order to access your pre-existing profile but instead, they steal the data you have blindly placed into their illegitimate website and exploit it to their own benefit.
How to stay safe from these risks:
People have to know that what is the risks associated with smart technology and also know the solutions.
Download security apps :
There are many security apps that are dedicated to the protection of their users from hackers and malicious activity. Be careful not to download any unauthenticated software as it could backfire on you and steal your valuable data stored on your devices. Also, make sure to keep it up to date to stay immune to any new tactics of hacking.
Try to avoid voice activation :
Voice-activated applications are infamous for eavesdropping on your daily life and surroundings in order to advertise what you may be looking for in your device so that they can sell more products.
Cover your device cameras when not in use :
Most smart home appliances nowadays have cameras. Though this may seem fancy and cool, it actually leaves your home very vulnerable to hackers who can hack into your device cameras and invade your privacy.
Use strong passwords or change your passwords frequently :
Utilizing strong passwords is vital to keep your information safe and sound as it makes it harder for hackers or unwanted sources to access your profile. Though changing your password frequently leaves you at risk of forgetting it, you can note it down somewhere. By doing a frequent password change, it logs out any devices that may have gained access to your profile unknowingly and gives you full control over your account once again.
Use VPN (Virtual Private Network) :
VPNs have become very popular recently as more people become aware of the data-stealing activities from multiple directions. It is one of the best ways to keep your devices and networks safe.
There are multiple Virtual Private Network applications that provide extreme security to you. They function by establishing a private connection between you and the internet. This is done by creating a direct tunnel that is encrypted, making all of your activity and internet traffic completely untraceable and off the grid. This provides you with fantastic protection against data stealing and hackers.
However, once again, only use authenticated and trusted VPNs that will not abuse your trust.
There are great risks that come with the advancement of technology and turning our homes into smart homes, however, we can do many things to stay protected. As we learn to eliminate these vulnerabilities, inevitably there is no doubt that others will simultaneously learn new ways to induce harm.