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Are our smart gadgets really eavesdropping? | 24.hu & More Latest News Here

 

There are many rumors about how our devices equipped with smart functions allow malicious people to easily observe our habits and steal our passwords, pictures and videos. Many people do not buy smart home devices precisely because they do not trust the technology.

If we use several smart devices in our home, it is worth knowing that most of them – let’s say a smart light bulb – do not store personal data at all. Products that manage data – such as digital assistants, smart TVs, laptops or smartphones – can pose the greatest risk. According to Euronics experts, the risk is real, but with a few preliminary security measures, even more serious smart home systems can be created without risk.

This is what our devices know about us

In general, it can be said that the range of data required for operation and the way they are stored differ from device to device. A smart refrigerator, for example, needs completely different data than a smart TV, but a smart washing machine also works with different data than an air conditioner. It may also happen that part of the data is stored in the given machine (for example, a washing program), and another part is stored in a cloud-based storage, which is typically provided by the developer or the manufacturer.

You can check the exact data stored on our devices – or the programs used on them – in the manual or website of the given device or service. In many cases, we can disable the storage of data beyond mandatory information, however, this may mean that we will not be able to use some functions.

Are they being interrogated and monitored?

Some people are not even afraid of smart functions, but rather of devices equipped with a camera or controlled by voice control. However, according to experts, manufacturers generally take the use and protection of voice-controlled and image data very seriously. Regardless, it is important to always choose a device from a well-known, verified brand in the given product category.

Smaller brands have fewer opportunities for both software and hardware development.

In addition, in case of a question or problem related to the device, it can cause difficulties if the brand does not have a representative in Hungary, since we do not have the opportunity to contact a customer service that provides immediate help. In general, it can be said that the bigger and more accessible a brand is in Hungary, the more reliable the smart devices it offers and the application that can be used to control them.

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Data in the ether

Similar fears surround data storage in the cloud. However, cloud storage is also bound by strict data protection rules, and since more and more people are using them, the security protocols behind them are also becoming stricter and more reliable. The huge advantage of this kind of storage is that you don’t need to insert a physical data carrier into the system, and the data stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere in the world – of course, after entering the required password or even biometric identification.

Using the cloud can also protect against possible data loss, since we don’t have to say goodbye to our data even if the memory card, hard drive or the computer itself fails or is lost.

This is how we can protect against attacks

If you want to keep your smart devices safe, the first step is to secure the network you use: choose strong WiFi encryption and a WiFi password of the appropriate length and complexity.

It doesn’t matter what password we choose on the various devices and applications: our access codes should be difficult to guess on all interfaces, should not be linked to our personal data, and we should feel free to use upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Also, make sure that the password is of sufficient length, at least 8-12 characters, and that the same password is not used for all devices.

From a data security point of view, it is important that all devices with smart functions have activated and updated virus protection and firewalls.

If we have concerns about the security of our data, we can even subscribe to a separate data protection service that repels unwanted attacks. If we control our smart devices in our home from a mobile phone, pay particular attention to its security: do not install applications on it from unknown locations and use applications that protect against unwanted programs.

We can make our mobile phone more secure by using a PIN code or biometric identification, and in the case of iPhone and Android phones, by turning on two-factor authentication, which links suspicious logins to extra approval.

And if the problem has already happened, for example, we suspect data theft, it is worth changing the password immediately and checking all our devices for any spyware that could have leaked this data. In addition, we should contact our financial institution, our employer, and all service providers who manage data about us.

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