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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Monday 21 August 2017

Features

Seven ways to keep the CIA out of your home

Monday 13/March/2017 - 04:41 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Alaa Turki

The "Vault 7" documents published by WikiLeaks show us how the "Internet of Things" (IoT) has great potential، yet is also susceptible to remote espionage. So how do I get the internet out of the devices?

The "Vault 7" leaks are the latest revelations to be published by the WikiLeaks website. The material reveals the CIA's detailed descriptions of the vulnerabilities of smartphones، computers and other electronic devices. The corresponding hacker techniques are also expounded.

Data and consumer protectionists are not surprised. For a long time now، they have seen the "Internet of Things" (IoT) [the physical devices involved in the electronic connection and exchange of data. Ed.] as a potential source of danger. "We examine whether the consumer understands where the data is created، how it is interlinked and what is done with it،" says Michael Schuhen from the University of Siegen in western Germany.

He and his colleagues have initiated a pilot project at the Center for Economic Education at the University of Siegen. They test consumer competence with regard to "smart" electrical appliances، and they offer tips on how to keep hackers out of private homes.

The simple answer: Just don't use them

"The simplest solution is still: I'll do without all these applications،" says Schuhen. Often people do not understand everything they should keep in mind، he says. Basically، whenever data flows، it can be monitored. Schuhen says، when in doubt، play it safe. After all، if you do not have any devices with smart features، then you do not have to worry about security issues.

Household check: Which devices are connected to the internet?

Many consumers are not aware of the fact that their home appliances are already connected to the internet or what type of data they transmit. That is why it helps to get a general rundown about the IoT.

Which home appliances do I have that collect data، and if they do، what kind of data do they collect?

What purpose does the data collection serve، and who has access to it?

What is the manufacturer allowed to do with my data; for example، can it be passed on to third parties?

And most importantly:

Can I use the product without exchanging data with the manufacturer?

Anyone who is uncertain about the answers to these questions can look for answers using the search engine Shodan.io، for example. Anyone in the world can use this search engine for the IoT to find out whether a device is connected to the internet and how you can protect yourself.

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