Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Shh.... You Home Device Is Spying On You?

Shh.... You Home Device Is Spying On You?

Shh.... You Home Device Is Spying On You?

Any home is surrounded by a lot of devices and applications that are always on or connected to your Wifi. You don't know the electronic gadget you have installed in your home is actively or passively listening and watching you.

Mark Zuckerberg's picture, showing his laptop's camera and mic covered with a tape, became a hot news in leading dailies. It stirred the waters and people have started raising concerns about privacy issues.Some people also claimed that picture is fake.

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Here is an incomplete list of gadgets that can spy you at home:

There have been rumours that TV setup boxes may come with preinstalled camera and mic and your government or cable guy is spying on you.

If you have any doubt about your setup box, unscrew it ;-) or tape it Zuckerberg's way.

In past, Smart TVs were found to be eavesdropping viewers' talks. In fact, Samsung's privacy policy warns users about having private conversations. (See link Samsung warns TV viewers.)

Later it was discovered most of the brands are snooping and sending details to the company servers.

Amazon's Alexa (earlier called Echo), a cylinder like voice controlled robot gathers voices data and backs it up on the cloud. It could happen that government agencies or third parties could potentially use this information.(see

It would be better to turn off voice recognition feature. Disconnect the devices from Wifi when not in use.

Snooping Mobile Apps or Laptops: We often grant the access permissions while installing a mobile app without realising if that application needs the permission. For example, many mobile games do not need phone directory access but they often ask for it. According to a study published in November by the US’ Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon and Harvard universities, almost 73% of the 55 tested Android apps and 47% of the 55 tested iOS apps reported a user’s location. Almost 49% of Android apps shared personal information such as name and email address with advertising networks. (See link: Livemint- Ensure your device not snooping on you.)

Check the permissions of the applications on your phone, uninstall the applications that are snooping on you.  Better download software from the official App store.

Baby monitors, Fitness tracking applications, web chatting software could have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.

Before buying these products, read product reviews and google if any security exploit has been reported.

Time to time change passwords of these devices and your wifi router.

Update security fixes of operating systems on your laptop or mobile or smart device.

Update the latest firmware of beacon devices and routers.

Install security app on your phone or computing devices.

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