Is Big Brother Watching? How Hackers Can Use Your Electronics To Spy On You

Local News

Our lives are filled with technology. Smart phones! Smart TV’s! Smart Everything! With 26 billion devices set to be online by 2020, there’s no telling what’s in store for us next. All this new technology has hackers salivating to get to your personal information. Experts warn, as technology gets smarter, all eyes are on you; especially, in your home.

Let’s take a look around your home. See this coffee pot and this television, this refrigerator? Consider every appliance — every piece of electronics in your home.

Does it connect to the internet?  If you said “yes”, then that appliance could be used to spy on you.  

I’m talking about your mobile devices, your tablet, your home thermostat!

“You can control your thermostat before coming home or you can save energy. Same with the refrigerator, same with others,” said U of M Professor of Computer Science Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta.

University of Memphis Professor Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta says if your appliances can be wired into a network, then the manufacturer can track you.

And, a system that’s supposed to protect your property while you’re away from the house is actually recording you while you’re at home. Some of those home security systems have cameras on them to see who set your alarm and who turned it off.

“Many times those are used for positive purposes, but in other cases, it has been significantly abused,” said Dr. Dasgupta.

For years, home security systems were hardwired to a service provider’s operations center. Now, they are connected to our phones and tablets. This allows us to keep tabs on our homes at at all times, from all places.

That convenience also allows home security folks to peek in on you when you punch in your key code. That secret camera you’ve probably never noticed on your keypad can also allow hackers using the internet to get your codes. Hackers also have the ability to lock and unlock your doors through the internet. At least one case of home hacking using a home fridge has been documented. 

“There should be a liability if someone gets hacked by using that — then that company should be liable,” said Dr. Dasgupta. “Always the information is stored.”

Bottom line about all this new technology is that odds are all eyes are on you!

How do we protect ourselves? Make sure you take advantage of all updates. Updating your software can keep the bugs and hackers away.  


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