We have now all learned that you should likely just assume that your Internet of Things Appliances are exposing you to unknown levels of data privacy threats. Two big recent events highlight the level of increasing exposure to users of Smart Devices or “Internet of Things” appliances. The biggest news in terms of media circulation is likely the Amazon Alexa privacy leak whereby a couple’s conversation was recorded and “accidentally” sent to their contacts. Coverage of the Amazon Alexa privacy breech was widely circulated – for instance here, here, and here. At the same time, the FBI was issuing an alert over a massive botnet that had compromised up to a half million (that’s 500,000 to you and me!) home routers and network appliances. Coverage of the Russian Botnet VPNFilter hack was also widely circulated here, here, here, and here. These incidents prompted “helpful” articles on how to mitigate the potential damage to your internet and data privacy like the ones here and here.
Update: while this news did not generate near the headlines of the first announcements, they are important indeed. It turns out that VPNFilter Malware is much more advanced than first suspected and as a class of malware, represents a much larger persistent threat. You can read details on the discovery of more advanced capabilities here and here