Is Your Holiday Gift Spying on You?

Introduction to a blog originally published by NordVPN

If your device has a microphone or a camera and plugs directly into the internet, there is a potential privacy risk; your new gadget may be spying on you! NordVPN created a list of holiday gifts that may compromise your cybersecurity. While you do your shopping this year, keep in mind that some gadgets come with cyber-risk! 

Voice-activated home assistants: Many of us are familiar with Alexa, the Amazon Echo home assistant. While shouting out your requests may seem like a fun way to play music or check your calendar, it also allows the device to listen in on your conversations. The microphone on home assistants allows the device to eavesdrop on you without your permission. 

Alexa and other voice-activated home assistants are considered IoT devices. IoT stands for “Internet of Things”. IoT devices are internet-connected gadgets that collect data and exchange it without human-to-human interaction. Because voice-activated home assistants act as IoT hubs, they are capable of recording/storing your data and communicating with other internet-connected devices. Who knows where your personal data is going!

Webcams: Webcams pose the same threat as Alexa’s microphone. You don’t know who’s recording, listening, and/or watching you on these devices. If you can monitor your webcam from an app or website, it is an IoT device. There have been several reports of IoT webcams being hacked and utilized by bad guys. IoT connected baby monitors, security cams, etc. all pose a threat to your privacy and safety. 

Smartphones: Smartphones are incredibly popular. You probably already own one! It’s important that you understand the risks involved in order to better defend your cybersafety. Smartphones track your location and monitor your searches. Then, this data is collected and stored. Your information can be used by social media advertisers to target your search history. It can also be used by hackers who gain access to it. If you’re uncomfortable with your smartphone tracking your location, adjust your settings accordingly. 

So, how can we protect ourselves? Visit NordVPN’s blog for an in-depth explanation and stay cyber-safe this holiday season! If you run into cybercrime this year, don’t worry. FraudSupport.org is here to guide you through the steps of recovery. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest in cybercrime recovery!