Click me

Who is Listening?

What Lurks in Our Microphones? Protecting Yourself in a World Where Everything Listens Your mobile and smart home devices make your life easier, but is it possible that your devices are going the extra step and listening to your private conversations? If so, where does that data go? Here's what you should know in tech's listening landscape. Can you hear me now? Face it: We are in the middle of a connected-device-filled world, surrounded by microphones. Simply taking stock of the active devices around us is an important first step to security. Mobile Devices Depending on your privacy and access settings, apps can use your device's microphone and camera-even when open in the background. Voice-FirstHome Devices Voice-first devices are always listening for their "wake" word but do not store or transmit ambient conversations. Laptop and Computer The microphone and camera on your computer are linked to its overall security. Attacks by hackers and malware can trigger secret recording. The Demand for Devices The last three years have seen a significant spike in the demand for voice-first devices, and it's only growing from here: 2015: 1.7M 2016: 6.5M 2017: 24.5M (estimated) C Hello, mayI ask who's listening? 88% of Americans say it is important 65% say it is very important to control what information is that they not have someone watch or listen to them without their permission. collected about them. Whether an actual human being or a computer algorithm listening on the other end, it could be a result of a serious security breach or legal data gathering that you've agreed to. Here is what you need to know about who could be lurking on the other side: Online Companies U.S. Govt. 2 Status: It's complicated a Hackers A Status: Illegal A O Status: Legal and agreed to O O Target: Bank and financial information, personal identification information, intellectual property, and private files O Target: Personal data including interests, spending habits, online activity, location, and contacts O Target: Intelligence and incriminating evidence % Strategy: Hackers gain access to computers or devices by tricking users into downloading malware, disguised as innocent links. % Strategy: Government surveillance remains secretive, but intelligence agencies say that only anti-terrorist monitoring or criminal investigations with a warrant can access personal data. % Strategy: You volunteer personal data when you shop or connect online, making you and your behavior a valuable target to advertisers. How can I protect myself? These are some common-sense ways to be security smart while online. 59% of people have cleared their cookies and browser history. 57% have refused to provide information about themselves that wasn't relevant to a transaction. 25% have used a temporary username or email address. 23% have decided not to use a website because they asked for a real name. In our ever-changing technology and privacy landscape, here are a few practical steps you can take to increase your security and protect your private conversations. Control what you can Keep your voice-first devices in check Protect your devices from outside attacks Be familiar with your device's privacy menus and be choosy with the apps you provide with microphone access. Utilize the mic mute button Purchase anti-malware and when you're not actively using or expecting to use the device. virus protection for your phone, tablets, and computers. Protecting your privacy while also embracing a technology-filled world can feel like competing priorities. But by being mindful of what devices you choose to use, following security best practices, and employing some protection software to help, you can safeguard your private life in the midst of all the microphones. For more information about cyber security, head to "Alexa and Google Home Record What You Say. But What Happens to That Data?" 2016, Wired "Is your smartphone listening to everything you say? We asked the experts," 2017, Digital Trends "The 2017 Voice Report," 2017, Voice Labs "Hackers Can Listen In on Your Skype Calls," 2016, The Atlantic "Americans' Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance," 2015, Pew Research Center O panda DII

Who is Listening?

shared by ColumnFive on May 17
Our devices are a big part of day-to-day life. We can talk with anyone using our smartphones, tablets and laptops. We give our in-home smart technology instructions simply by speaking to it. But this ...


Column Five


Did you work on this visual? Claim credit!

Get a Quote

Embed Code

For hosted site:

Click the code to copy


Click the code to copy
Customize size