Any device that connects to the internet is a potential target for hackers. That means that thermostats, security cameras, voicemail, and cameras that use smart technology to transmit information can be hijacked.
We’re used to dealing with this threat in many contexts. We use hard to guess passwords for our most important accounts and devices so that no one gets unauthorized access. After reading this article, you may want to upgrade those passwords for a few more devices.
1. Self-Driving Cars
Autonomous cars promise fewer traffic jams and accidents as well as a much more relaxed driving experience. The technology is already expressly allowed in 17 states and Washington, D.C., and advocates point to the low number of incidents as proof of their safety.
While the cars have a great track record when operating correctly, there is an inherent danger that they could be hacked. At various DEF CON hacker conferences, presenters showed several ways to confuse the cars.
Chinese researchers made other cars on the road “disappear” from the collision-avoidance sensors on self-driving cars. An Australian hacker did the opposite, using reflective paint to make the cars think there was a real threat and crash into a ditch to avoid it.
2. Smart TVs
Hackers have demonstrated a variety of ways to get control of a smart TV. While a hacked TV may seem like a minor inconvenience, these attacks can be powerful.
Because these televisions are often equipped with a microphone and camera, hackers could potentially record both audio and video using someone’s TV. Hackers can also use a smart TV as an entryway, and move on to access other connected devices in someone’s home.
Keeping your software up-to-date is the best defense against these types of attacks. As electronics manufacturers learn of holes in their security, they add patches to updates; make sure you take advantage of them!
3. Medical Devices
This is perhaps the scariest one on the list. There are now a number of connected devices that people wear inside of their bodies, such as insulin pumps and pacemakers.
Hackers have demonstrated the ability to make these devices malfunction remotely. This has led to medical device companies making shields to block any attempt to access the device.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney isn’t taking any chances; he keeps his pacemaker’s wireless receiver off at all times to prevent someone from turning it off.
4. Garage Doors
This is a good reminder not to rely on your garage door from keeping intruders out of your house. There are countless ways to induce an electric garage door to open–just have a cursory look at YouTube.
The big takeaway from this is to keep the door leading to your garage locked when you’re not home. Of course, you can’t keep all valuables items out of your garage, but just remember that breaking into a garage is easier than ever. If there’s something you can’t live without, don’t trust the garage door to protect it.
We’ll end on a fun on, so you don’t go away from this article too terrified. Smart toilets are a rarity in the U.S., but like all other connected gadgets, they are slowly gaining a foothold.
So what could someone do with a hijacked toilet? Considering that most of them have a bidet function, we’re guessing an unexpected blast of cold water would be a common attack. In all likelihood, siblings pranking each other seems the most likely culprits for a toilet-hack attack.
The bottom line is that connected devices are vulnerable. There is a great chance that no one would bother to hack your Fitbit or smart coffee maker, but the possibility is there. Consumers should be aware of that as they connect more and more of their devices to the internet.