It seems that everything is going “smart”, and is connected and networked to everything else. I can now open or close the deadbolt lock on my front door at my home using an app on my smart phone. People can now do the same with their garage doors, adjust the temperature using a “smart” thermostat, or track where their daughter has taken the family car the previous night using apps. New wearable “smart” devices are able to count the steps you take each day, and track and map where you have walked. And, using social media apps, we can share with the world where we had lunch and with whom we ate. And more and more new “smart” devices are coming on the market every day. Sounds like a good thing. Right?
Personally I have to admit I use and love many of the devices, apps and examples I just shared. However, there is a growing concern. It seems that for every new “smart” device that comes on the
market, your privacy is in greater danger as is your security. After all, if Netflix can hack into a FitBit, does this mean that hackers can do the same? (Netflix announced they hacked into a FitBit to determine if they could offer a new service. Since the FitBit could determine inactivity, Netflix explored the idea of stopping a movie for their customers IF it was determined that the customer had fallen asleep.) Do I want a hacker to tell where I am and/or if I am inactive or asleep?
Who might benefit from knowing where I go, where I eat, watch, read, purchase, etc. And, all technology seems to require updates to protect us from new “holes” hackers find and exploit. While I expect Microsoft, Adobe, Java and Apple to inform me of security issues and provide updates, can I expect the same from the company that sold me my “smart” front door lock? Does the age of my “smart” devices make me more vulnerable to someone freely opening my front or garage door whenever they wish? What damage could be done, or what advantage might be gained from hackers accessing my smart refrigerator, thermostat, TV or stereo?
When people refer to the future as “a brave new world”, they might not be kidding about the need to be brave. I love Technology and how it provides comfort, convenience and keeps me connected, but I think there needs to be a growing concern about how all of this will impact our privacy and security down the road. Am I ready to give up my “smart” front door lock or my FitBit? Not at this time. But keeping up with the latest devices and discarding those that become a potential hazard may become a new part of our lives as we seek to protect ourselves and our loved ones from growing security issues!