With the rise of interactive and intelligent everyday items, concern surrounding the power these items may hold over us can arise. The fear is that, in the hands of hackers, advanced internet connected appliances could act as spies. Although most people may not be at risk of being watched doing anything more thrilling than the washing up or feeding the pets, the thought of a breach to your security and privacy and a helpful household object watching you without your knowledge is an unsettling one.
This concern does not simply stem from paranoia; the threat is a reality as some devices have been found to be fitted with spyware or with features vulnerable to hacking. A group of researchers from Positive Technologies uncovered security vulnerabilities in smart vacuum cleaners. Dongguan Diqee 360 vacuums contain elements such as a microphone and a night-vision camera. By merely acquiring its MAC address, a hacker could share the wireless network of the device, and then send a User Datagram Protocol request, potentially giving them the ability to control the functions of the vacuum. Logging onto the device is relatively simple as a lot of devices may still have the default username and password combination.
These vulnerabilities are not exclusive to the Dongguan Diqee 360 vacuum cleaners; there may also be issues of vulnerability that affect other IoT devices using the same software. Hackers may also target outdoor surveillance cameras and smart doorbells according to the Positive Technologies research team. Video and microphone access maximises the hacker‘s invasion into our private lives as they can obtain information from what they see us do and what they hear us say. Depending on the position of the IoT devices (some of which can navigate themselves around the household), the hacker could obtain your bank details by watching you

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