The holiday season is a great time to spend with your family and friends, and to take a well-deserved break from the pressures of work and worry.
I hope you will enjoy it.
I also have a gift to give you on this holiday that you may not have even thought about.
Many of you or members of your family will receive gifts of technology. An increasing number of items now allow them to be connected to your network, usually with either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
One of the most popular gifts last year, and probably this year will be smart home speakers and controllers.
Your children may receive connected toys that communicate via Wi-Fi, and some of them now come with voice recognition to allow the youngster to “talk” with the toy. I have seen connected dolls and stuffed animals that allow the child to carry on a conversation with the doll, but most people don’t understand how the technology works, and the information that is transmitted to make the conversation possible.
Almost every smartphone and tablet comes with a personal assistant, along with many new vehicles. Do you know how they work?
Connected televisions have built-in microphones and cameras, along with many other entertainment and communication apps. Some of them even set up a separate wireless access point that you may not have realized.
New wireless home security systems now allow a homeowner to set up a system without the need for running power cables to every device connected to the system. Many of these don’t encrypt their data, even the data that’s transmitted back to the developer.
Smart thermostats, smoke detectors, and even kitchen appliances are becoming connected to make your lives more convenient. Do you know what data do they collect and how is it used?
We’ll talk about the Internet of Things in more detail in future blogs next year. But you should also be aware that many of these devices have been hacked, or could raise serious privacy concerns related to the type of data they collect, how they transmit the data, or potentially could even provide a back door access point to your network.
Convenience almost always wins over security and privacy.
So during the holidays, just keep this in mind when you see a new gift that can connect to your network, and think about whether it is “naughty” or “nice.”
My gift to you is a new awareness of security and privacy risks and things you can do to minimize the risks by giving you our Smart Home and Mobile Device Security Checklist at our website in our Free Content Library.
The checklist is a gift to you, and even if you don’t act on every recommendation it will at least make you more aware of possible risks related to the technology you use.
Once again, best wishes for this holiday season and for a great 2018!