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Bluetooth Smoke Detector a Security Risk?

Cyber Travis facing leftIt seems that everything is coming internet-enabled these days from cameras, fridges, thermostats, to watches. Somewhat more troubling they also include a digital assistant enabled. All these devices are what is being called the "Internet of Things" (IoT). For a couple of reasons I prefer to call them the "Internet of Trash."

Will it be around in a year?

Will the device maker that managed to combine a smoke detector, Bluetooth speaker, and a digital assistant be around next year?  If it isn't a major manufacturer, they might not be. Also if the product is not a big seller it might be abandoned by the manufacturer even if they are a household name. Gone will be their product support and the eventual security updates the assistant enabled smoke detector speaker will need. These unpatched devices have been and will continue to be used to launch internet attacks and could be the security hole in your home network that a hacker has been looking for.

Next is the question of privacy.

Use your favorite search engine to look up "digital assistant privacy issues" and you might be surprised at what you find. None of these devices has the processing power to act on your request without first sending your voice recording out to the internet to be processed and an answer returned. What are these companies doing with that information that is uniquely you? How long do they keep it? Realize that these devices, if you allow them, are always listening to you. They listen to everything that happens in your home or on your phone, they know the hours you are active, the hours you are away from home and a whole lot more.

Lastly, we are creating actual trash.

Device trends of increasing power, smaller size, bigger screen and better camera have left us with piles of e-waste. If you find yourself with an old device that is unsupported and insecure make sure you recycle it with an e-waste company. Don't send it to the landfill or the normal recycling center, especially if it contains a lithium-ion battery, it's a fire hazard.


Additional Information

More information can be found at the following links:

New device? Check your CyberSecurity!
A handy checklist from the Center for Internet Security

Electronics Recycling in Wisconsin
Information on recycling electronics from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Real examples of Internet of Things (IoT) attacks :

"The 10/21 attacks were made possible by the large number of unsecured internet-connected digital devices, such as home routers and surveillance cameras." — 10 things to know about the October 21 IoT DDoS attacks, Oct. 24, 2016

"Researchers have stumbled on another large botnet that’s been quietly hijacking home routers while nobody was paying attention. This one’s been named BCMUPnP_Hunter by discoverers Qihoo 360 Netlab, which says it’s infected at least 100,000 routers in the US, India and China since September." — Botnet pwns 100,000 routers using ancient security flaw, Nov. 12, 2018

Posted: 12/4/2018 10:20:38 AM by Travis Albrecht | with 0 comments

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