When Kashmir Hill filled her home with smart devices, she knew they would collect massive amounts of her personal information. She wanted to understand: what's the ultimate cost of that data mining? Kashmir Hill is a journalist who writes about technology and privacy for the Special Project Desk at Gizmodo Media Group. In her approach to writing about privacy, she has created her own smart home, built a fake business, lived on bitcoin, and written in only caps for a week. Through these projects, Kashmir explores the dark side of technology--and what we can do about it.
If you own a smart device or connected TV and found yourself alarmed by Tuesday's reports of CIA hacking, you need to start asking difficult questions about the companies you'll spend money with in the future. That's the message from cybersecurity experts Mashable spoke to on a day of explosive allegations following the latest WikiLeaks dump. Wikileaks dumped a trove of documents on Tuesday that allegedly show a range of techniques the CIA uses to hack or get around privacy protections such as encryption. While the CIA hasn't figured out how to crack encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp, according to the documents, they have figured out how to compromise phones so the in-app encryption becomes irrelevant. The CIA has also apparently figured out how to spy on people through smart TVs, and they've explored how to hack vehicle control systems.
These days, even your teddy bear might be out to get you. As the inevitable creep of "smart" features and products continues to turn everything from your refrigerator to your thermostat into a connected device, it's worth taking a moment to consider just what you're giving up in exchange for this wannabe Jetsons future. Thankfully, Mozilla has done a lot of that work for you with a new guide dedicated to just how insecure many smart devices are. It's right in time for the end-of-year shopping season, meaning you have no excuse to buy your parents one of these potentially compromised electronic gadgets as a holiday gift. And, if you send them the guide, they won't have an excuse for buying you one, either.