There’s this paranoia that surrounds in-home smart appliances, but most of the time these fears have no basis in reality. While those who hate technology may say, “I told you so” every time an Alexa laughs without a prompt, most people don’t care about these things, placing more value in the positive things that the device provides. But sometimes these fears have some sort of basis, leading to devices that could seriously violate your privacy.
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It was reported that Diqee Camera Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, a Chinese Roomba knock-off, has some serious vulnerabilities that could give hackers the opportunity to turn your vacuum cleaner into an in-home surveillance device. Since the vacuum cleaner comes equipped with wi-fi and an HD 360 camera, the fears of being monitored are very plausible.
According to TechCruch, this vulnerability can give a hacker access to your devices’ camera by having your vacuum cleaner’s MAC address.
“Like any other IoT device, these robot vacuum cleaners could be marshalled into a botnet for DDoS attacks, but that’s not even the worst-case scenario, at least for owners. Since the vacuum has Wi-Fi, a webcam with night vision, and smartphone-controlled navigation, an attacker could secretly spy on the owner and even use the vacuum as a ‘microphone on wheels’ for maximum surveillance potential.” Leigh Anne Galloway, cybersecurity lead at Positive Technologies, tells TechCrunch.
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So, you know, be careful with what you purchase. It’s okay to trust technology and to be optimistic for the future, but it’s also important to buy devices from companies you trust, which hopefully have a good track record. And even then, you can never be too sure.