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15 Home Appliances & Devices May be Spying on You

Filed under Hardware

Spying apps and devices may be getting you all riled up, but there’s little more than a mobile phone anyone needs to spy on you. Then too, there are ways to spy on someone using an assortment of devices, not all of which need to be connected to the internet. So move over Facebook and Google, things you can hold right in your hand might be under use to spy on what you’re doing every single second you’re around them.

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1. Smartphones

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Your smartphones are mines of your personal data. It’s not just about what you put on your social media either; smartphones and their apps are known to keep track of your geographical location as well as personal data like your internet use, your most frequently used apps and services and more. With the right tools and the right knowledge, your smartphone can be hacked and all your information can be siphoned for the hacker to use. It doesn’t take a lot of effort either, and most methods are completely undetectable, many even with the strongest anti-viruses.

2. Smart watches

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Your smart watch may be fancy and make you look like a tech savvy person, but just as there’s a difference between looking good and being over-dressed, smart watches have had people question the need for the many features they carry. For example, there is no sense to incorporate pulse monitoring in a smartwatch, nor does it make sense to have it track your location. Information like this can easily be used to monitor your state of health, the route you take while jogging as well as get a pretty close idea about what you’re doing right that instant.

3. Fitness Bands

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They help you track calories burned and other crucial data that can help you keep your health in order and weight in check. Fitness bands are connected to smartphones using WiFi or Bluetooth. There happen to be several ways to track data being shared between two devices over both WiFi as well as Bluetooth, no matter if the connection is password secured. This effectively puts data about your health and your lifestyle at the mercy of hackers and spies, and it can be used in a myriad of ways.

4. TV

Yes! The idiot box is not that idiotic after all. Your TV doesn’t just deliver information from the satellite to your TV screen. There is a line of processes that come in to convert the electromagnetic rays coming as signals from the sky into pictures that are intelligible to the common man. Along with these are side features such as dongles you can connect as well as inbuilt WiFi support. Your TV can be hacked to get information about what you watch, when you watch it and for how long, and that information can be used to deduce other information about you. TV channels already use impersonalised data collected anonymously to monitor viewing habits and audience reception. There is not a lot stopping them from personalising information collected, or a private spy for that matter.

5. Car Radio players and TV Cable Box

Car Radio players can be used just as easily to get your favorite songs down, and they are easy to use to determine your state on mind that can be valuable information for any spy. Syncing devices to mimic the channels you’re listening to on your mobile phone is not a tough task for anyone with spying experience. In the same line, your TV cable box can have cameras built into it, or it could be your expensive TV too. Hacking them is not very difficult, and it can render your living room pretty visible to anyone who cracks into it.

6. WiFi Modems

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Anything with internet is a potential threat to your privacy. And the Modem is verily internet. Modems are known to be very hackable, even with the fancy security tags they may come with, which are essentially marketing gimmicks. Password protection or firewalls don’t help either. WiFi Modems can be used to fish cookies and browsing data that can be used to determine what your browsing habits are, which can be used to deduce everything from what restaurant you’re going to visit in the evening to what you’re looking to purchase soon. It is all potentially very sensitive information, and it can all be extracted out of the last device you’d look at with suspicion.

7. Coffee Makers and Kitchen Appliances

Among devices that are perhaps the most illogical to connect to the Internet coffee makers and kitchen appliances at the forefront. A common fad these days is to have coffee makers be connected to the WiFi and have them to coffee every morning at a regular hour. There are other kitchen appliances as well which rely too much on the Internet. As convenient as it might be to have your room smell of coffee when it’s time for you to wake up this information can in fact be used to get a grip on your daily morning routine and know when you wake up when you go to sleep as well as deduce other information about your daily lifestyle. All of this comes in handy to spies or con artist attempting identity theft.

8. Laptop Webcams

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Celebrities have had there photos need several times for us to be aware of this simple tactic that is employed by spies and other people with unholy motivations. Unless of course you thought all these models and pop stars were naive enough to press the camera button when they were not even posing. Your laptop is get connected to the Internet, and we know That means it is only waiting to be hacked and used for anything ranging from blackmail and extortion to simple bullying. One simple technique to avoid this is to put a sticky note on your laptop’s webcam. You can take it off when you choose to chat with someone, with or without clothes. But when you aren’t chatting, given that most laptops don’t have “camera on” indications anymore, and given those indications too can be hacked, you can keep the stranger’s eye from cheap titillation.

9. Burglar Alarms

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Burglar Alarms are meant to make us feel safe. There are advanced systems in the market that can alert the local authorities immediately in case of a break-in. It does that through analog signals, once again, and you can track all such signals and even set up false positives to harass someone with the police breaking open their door at odd hours as well as disable them by making the signals be intercepted at a place other than the police station where there is nobody with the intent to respond. It is a spy’s ugliest tool.

10. Smart Lights

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With smart homes going into vogue, especially with the rich and upper middle classes, smart lighting and electronic equipment are getting in vogue. Turns out, it can be equivalent to walking into a trap with sheepish innocence. Your lights turning on when you’re not home can alert burglars of your arrival and prompt them to exit conveniently. It can alert spies that you’re around the corner and give them time to kickstart their project. Same goes for any other WiFi-connected household gadgetry you may have. Christmas lighting going on at exactly the same time the entire holiday season can only make it too easy for people of the wrong predisposition to deduce nobody’s home.

11. Central Heat

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Even thermostats are known to provide information about the person. What temperature one is most comfortable at can have significance for experts in behavior and psychology, and the information collected going in the right hands can be used to accurately guess your predispositions and behavioral patterns. It can alert spies about times you wake up as well as when you leave the house, when you come back and what time you go to bed. Everything digital is a threat to security, it seems.

12. iPods and gaming consoles

Entertainment devices are not completely innocent either. You may think of them as merely platforms to run games and keep track of scores and progress, but since they have connection to the internet, they are easily hackable. You can track data the device exchanges with the WiFi network. But it is probably not your game scores spies are after, but your gaming habits to make sense of how you spend your time. If you think why you’d be that important to someone, you should know private detectors are often employed not by enemies or terrorists but by suspicious spouses and concerned parents. You can be sure there are a lot of those around. And don’t think your gaming console is innocent. There are cases when emails that have caused concern have been found to have come from refrigerators! Not making this up!

13. Medical Corrective devices

The latest generation of insulin pumps and pacemakers come with a system that can give mobile or email alerts (there’s not a lot of difference anymore since you get all email on your notifications) when the batteries are about to run out. Some are even capable of alerting your doctors or family members about any organ malfunction that may be around the corner. If this can be hacked, it can be used to cause a panic around you from your near and dear ones and cause you to be packed to the nearest hospital, giving spies a lot of scope to execute their plans. It doesn’t just leave your home and possessions unattended, but it can even put your health in danger.

14. Laundry machines

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Going the way of smart devices, laundry machines too come with WiFi connections that alert you when your clothes are ready. Like any other internet enabled device, your very own clothes washing machine can tell criminals and unsavoury people when you are and aren’t home. It really serves to drill in the concept that you are better off without the internet enabled on every single device you own. It can be a better idea to simply note the time you set the machine and walk back to it an hour or two later when the clothes are done, depending upon what cycle you set it on.

15. Online Credit cards

Prepaid credit cards and other apps that allow you to transfer money or make payments via your smartphone might not be as secure as you think. Tracking spending habits is really not that difficult over these apps, and with someone with that sort of motivation, you might be in a world of trouble if they can deduce what apps you use and how much balance you add each time. It can help criminals sort through people who have money in their bank accounts and target those people over those will less money to have the most profit with the least trouble.

Conclusion

The aim of writing this is not to scare you or make you paranoid about using technology. All the great things we have today have all directly or indirectly come from better access to more advanced technology. Just look at how far we’ve come in under a fifth of the twenty first century alone!

However, it is important to be conscious of where the internet and bluetooth and other connectivity serves a purpose and where it is a needless frill which can be substituted by manual labor that doesn’t really take a lot of time out of your schedule or cost resources. Eliminating this needless internet connectivity will make sure there is a lot less data that can be remotely accessed by someone with an unwelcome agenda.

Another thing to keep in mind is to be mindful about what you share on social media. It can be fun and fetch you likes to share your jog routine or something else over Facebook, but you must remember that there is no privacy setting banning bad motives with the right know-how, and what you post on the internet cannot be deleted.

Guest Author: Carla Thomas

Carla is the organiser of 2kReviews’ operations. She is known for her patience and authoritativeness, which she says is the only way to get work done in the office. She’s a Proud Thinker, Wannabe Alcohol Ninja.

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