Smart Gadgets – 5 Ways to Minimize Privacy and Security Risks
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Most gadgets nowadays feature microphones, cameras, easy connectivity to your smartphone, and various other features. Although these are all helpful, they aren’t impossible to hack and use for malignant intent. There’s not a lot you can do to prevent any security or privacy breaches except turning off the device, but this isn’t always a possible answer and choice.
Many people like these gadgets and disabling them completely is not an option. So, what’s there to do to prevent anything bad happening to you, whether accidental or on purpose? Even if there’s no intent to do something bad (such as recording a private conversation and sending it to someone without your knowledge), mishaps do happen.
Here are a couple of useful methods that should minimize the possibility of unwanted situations happening.
Kill the Mic:
The larger majority of smart speakers have specific buttons designed to disable the microphone (specifically to give you the option to have private conversations without the gadget ‘listening’). This means it won’t be able to record a conversation you’re having, even accidentally. So, this button changes color as soon as you press it (most similar gadgets feature the same type of color change) so you know when it’s off.
Although, keep in mind that disabling it completely basically shuts down the use of this product. When you’re done with your conversation, make sure you turn it back on so its functionality isn’t ruined.
Limit the Mic:
Now, let’s talk a bit about smartphones. Smartphones won’t exactly do you any good if you turn the microphone off (or any phone for that matter), so what’s the point? How can you prevent any security breaches that are related to your smartphone? Well, for starters, you will have to do something about that microphone.
Since there’s no use in preventing it from even being active, your microphone needs to get limited in terms of what it records and when. This is done by selecting which apps gain access to the microphone. Apps such as Netflix, Google, and others don’t necessarily need microphone access since it’s only used to record your search query. And we all know that this can be done through typing.
The fewer apps use your microphone, the lower the security risk associated with it.
Block the Signals:
Some gadgets and phones can easily be hacked and accessed just by giving out signals. Your best bet to prevent this from happening is blocking the signals. Now, this isn’t exactly clean; meaning that, if you put something in a Faraday Bag, it will block all signals coming in and out of the bag.
This means your phone won’t be able to receive calls, messages, or even connect to the internet while it’s in the bag. But, keep in mind that this is the whole point of having things in a Faraday Bag – preventing the existence of various signals that your gadgets/smartphones can be used. This also prevents hackers and other security breaks from accessing your location.
Read more: Smart Home Technologies to Boost Home Value
Technology has progressed a lot over the years, but it’s also gotten more simplified, at least from the customer side. Compared to 10, 20, 50 years ago, you don’t exactly know what your smart cooker or smart TV can do. This is a big problem. You might get gadgets that are incredibly easy to use, but you won’t be able to know what your gadget is capable of. Home security systems are also necessary sometimes but usually aren’t.
Make sure you know exactly what the device you want to buy can do and how you can use it to its full potential. If there’s anything out of the ordinary, it might be better to avoid it all together.
In the end, whatever you buy is your choice. Are you sure you need a smart TV that can connect to the Internet which enables you to watch Youtube videos (when you already have a PC)? Is what you’re purchasing necessary to improve your quality of life? There are a lot of questions that you need to answer before opting to make a smart gadget purchase. We live in a world where information is easily accessible, and if you start purchasing these gadgets with capabilities that you aren’t familiar with – who knows what might happen? The best thing you can do is avoid purchasing these gadgets unless they’re absolutely necessary!
Read more: The Pros and Cons of Buying a Smart Home
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