ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Technology like smartphones, Smart TVs, and smart home devices make it easy to communicate, share information, and perform daily tasks, but they come with a trade-off, convenience for your privacy.
We spoke with Sean Phillips of GreyCastle Security about who’s watching and listening to us when we use these smart devices. “It’s always the convenience versus privacy equation for consumers,” he said.
We want the smartphone, Smart TV’s, and smart home devices. They make our life easy but come with a risk when they connect to the internet. Connectivity opens a two-way street that companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google use to mine our data.
“If you’re going to have an Alexa in your house, be comfortable that there’s probably a couple of thousand Amazon workers assessing what you’re saying to the Alexa,” said Phillips.
Phillips said the companies then sell your information so other companies can market specifically to your interests.
“At the end of the day, the more connected you can be, the more data they have to sell which is a huge benefit to them,” said Phillips
This reality hasn’t stopped most people from buying these types of products. What does give people pause, is the idea of a stranger hacking into your home. Phillips says there are two steps everyone should take with their technology:
- Reset the pre-generated or default password that comes with the system.
- Set up two-factor authentication.
“If someone knew your password and you had two-factor authentication set up it would then shoot to your phone and say, did you try to log in?” Phillips explained. “Here’s the short term password that you need to further get into the system. If that person trying to break into your account doesn’t have that phone with them they can’t get in.”
He also said be cautious when sharing your personal information, especially on social media.
“The more you share, the more access you’re giving because you’re sharing exactly what platforms you’re on, exactly what you’re doing, and giving people very tangible information to be able to work against you with,” said Phillips. “So if there was a bad actor, the more you publish, the bigger your footprint, the more likely it is they can get to you.”
When shopping, Phillips said stick with reputable brands. They’re better positioned to manufacture products with security in mind, and those products are more likely to be vetted by professionals. Ultimately, your privacy is at stake. In the ‘cat and mouse’ world of hacking, Phillips said there’s a simple truth. “Offense only has to be right once. Defense has to be right every time.”