Advertisement
Technology

Your TV Might Be Spying on You

Those internet-connected devices can be a gateway for hackers.

Kiplinger's interviewed Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy for cybersecurity firm SentinelOne. Read excerpts from our interview below.

From TVs to thermostats to light bulbs, more and more devices have Wi-Fi capability. Are they vulnerable to hacking? A “smart” device is a tiny, internet-connected computer with a narrower purpose than a laptop or PC. An iPhone, for example, is not a phone—it’s a computer that happens to have a phone app on it. Anything connected to the internet is at risk of being hacked. As these devices become widespread, they create more points of entry for bad guys. If crooks hack your smart TV, they may or may not be able to monitor your activity through it—but they could potentially use it as a stepping-stone to attack or surveil other devices on the same network.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Do these gadgets come with security protections? Many manufacturers have an incentive to create the cheapest products they can, so they sacrifice security. And when consumers buy, say, a baby monitor, they’re not necessarily looking for security. They want the right features at the lowest price.

Has there been a major attack? Through malware discovered last summer, hackers commandeered internet-connected video recording gadgets, such as baby monitors and home security cameras, to send a massive amount of traffic to popular websites, causing outages. The perpetrators weren’t particularly interested in the devices themselves, but that’s not to say they couldn’t have monitored them or stolen video files. There haven’t been many other compromises of home devices yet, but it’s going to become a bigger problem.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

What information are smart devices legally collecting? Amazon Echo and Google Home are voice activated. They capture and record conversations within listening range of the microphone and send that data to the cloud for storage and analysis. Health-and fitness-related devices, such as the Apple Watch and FitBit, gather and store information about our biorhythms.

How can we guard our security and privacy? Change the default passwords that come with your devices, and keep them up to date with the latest software patches. Configure settings to the most secure and privacy-protecting options available, and disable features you don’t need. Most home routers allow you to set up two distinct networks—so put your smart devices on separate networks from your PCs or laptops.

Advertisement

Most Popular

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020
Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2020 tax year...and it's never too early to start thinking about next year's return.
June 22, 2020

Recommended

For Financially Responsible Kids, Do NOT Do These 3 Things
family savings

For Financially Responsible Kids, Do NOT Do These 3 Things

The key to putting your kids on the right financial path can be boiled down into one sentence.
July 1, 2020
10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class
tax deductions

10 Tax Breaks for the Middle Class

Tax breaks aren't just for the rich. There are plenty of them that are only available to middle- and low-income Americans.
June 30, 2020
The Answers to More RMD Questions
retirement

The Answers to More RMD Questions

The CARES Act made 2020 required minimum distributions optional. But what are your next moves?
June 12, 2020
Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus
Travel

Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

Insurance may not cover canceled vacations, but airlines and hotels may be flexible.
June 11, 2020