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Have you heard about the Internet of Things (IoT)? It is basically about making devices “smart” and hooking them up to the Internet.
And it’s a terrible idea.
Don’t believe me? A hacker broke into a Google Nest and cranked up the heat. A baby monitor was hacked, and the hacker said that he was going to kidnap the baby. Another two hackers broke into Ring cameras and talked to young girls.
Remember this video?
“On the Internet, there is no such thing as distance.” As he said, any crook can talk to any device. And if those devices have any vulnerabilities, he can take control of it too.
The security of smart devices is abysmally bad across the board.
As someone who is trying to be a professional programmer, I can only make one recommendation regarding smart devices:
Do NOT use smart devices.
At all. The sole exception is a smartphone, but I recommend thinking carefully about whether you will use a cell phone at all.
For me personally, I use a smartphone, but that it because I use an encrypted messaging app. You should think carefully about whether you need a smartphone at all.
As for everything else, get rid of it, especially if it’s your security system. If a hacker managed to take control of your security system, you are screwed. But they can do all sorts of damage, even psychological damage, using anything.
I am deadly serious about this. My wife and I received a gift recently (’tis the season!) of a Facebook Portal Mini. And we are getting rid of it without even opening it. My wife and I agree that we will not even plug it in. And when I was put up in a hotel by A Big Company™, I checked the room for smart devices and unplugged them all.
Make sure you unplug them, not just turn them off. Some are designed to always stay on listening for key words.
Also, funny story: one of the devices was an Amazon Echo. As I was approaching to unplug it, I said, “Alexa, stop spying on me.”
And I kid you not, it said something to the effect of: “I do not spy on you. I only share what data you allow me to share.”
In conclusion, the dangers of the Internet are not just confined to our desktops and phones; they are seeping into our homes through other devices.