By Adam Levin
For Americans concerned about their privacy, the NSA data grabs are daunting, but what about the data grabs happening inside your own home, perpetrated not by the government but by your coffee machine?
Consider every appliance and every piece of home electronics that you own. Does it gather data about how you use it? Does it connect to the Internet? If so, it could be used to spy on you. Your mobile devices, your TV, and now various other types of home appliances can be wired into a network that can track you. If those networks are hacked, information about your habits and behaviors could be available to people with nefarious goals. The same technological innovation that empowers us also makes us vulnerable to those who would exploit such advances against us.
Here are nine appliances and other systems inside your house that may be spying on you right now, or used to spy on you in the future.
1. Your Television
Ever wonder how your TV remembers what shows you’ve watched, which ones you plan to watch, and how long you watched the last episode of Homeland before falling into nightmare-ridden sleep?
It does it all by connecting to the Internet. Therein lies its weakness. Computer Security firm ReVuln proved last year that it could hack Samsung’s newest televisions, accessing users’ settings, installing malware on the TVs and any connected devices, and harvesting all the personal data stored on the machine. They could even switch on the camera embedded in the TV and watch viewers watching the set.
Samsung says it patched the security flaw. That said, who’s to say that Samsung is the only brand to have experienced a security issue?
2. Your Cable Box
Companies including Google and Verizon are reportedly developing cable boxes with built-in video cameras and motion sensors. The idea is that if the camera detects two people canoodling on the couch, they might be delivered ads for a new romantic movie, while a roomful of children would see ads for an Air Hogs remote control helicopter.
If that freaks you out, think what government intelligence agencies or hackers could do with such a device.