Titania Security

Hi-tech or hi-threat?

News   •   Jun 10, 2013 14:52 BST

When you plug in a new gadget - smart TVs, game consoles, laptops – do you consider the risks?

For example, if you’re a gaming fan and the prospect of the new Xbox One is mouth-watering, should you think twice before adding it to Santa’s wish list? Microsoft has revealed that their Kinect console can track eye movement (to monitor attention levels), has “blush technology” (for heart-rate purposes) and can even approximate the mood of the player by watching their face closely. Aside from the obvious concerns about who will have access to this information and how it will be used, there are other risks. This input sensor is new and therefore could be full of unknown vulnerabilities. What we do know is that because of webcam hacking and other spyware tools, a gaming console can be gateway to your private data and now even your behavior.

Also, a quick scan over the industry news shows that even your shiny new smart TV can be a threat. From the physical access to the USB ports, to WiFi eavesdropping and unwanted content, the threats can be annoying at the very least. Researcher Martin Herfurt points out that some TV stations use poorly configured HbbTV servers and that can be easily manipulated by attackers who lead users to malicious content.

While the risks of new technology are real and often immediate, this isn't to say that gadgets should be feared. Your best protection is through making well informed decisions and getting to know these technologies before you invite them into your home. Better safe than sorry! 

For more opinions and advice from Titania on the information security industry see our related material.