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  • Large-scale study showed the danger of smart devices

    It would seem that if you connect all the devices in the house to the Internet, life will become a little easier. However, the largest ever study of the Internet of things has shown that smart appliances often collect information about owners and share private information with third-party companies.

    Large-scale study showed the danger of smart devices

    Researchers from Northeastern University and Imperial College London studied 81 popular models of smart TVs, smart speakers, doorbells with Internet connections, released by Google, Apple, LG, Amazon, and other well-known companies. It turned out that most of the tested gadgets pass on user information to third-party companies. For example, almost all TVs tell Netflix about the preferences of the viewer, even if he did not connect the service to the device. Gadgets also transmit IP address, MAC address, usage habits, and location data.

    “A wide variety of Internet-connected devices in people's homes could potentially reveal consumer information to third parties. Our article represents the beginning of a long-awaited study that will allow consumers to better understand and control the information provided by their smart devices, ”said study author David Choffnes.

    In a series of 34,586 experiments, it was found that 72 devices were in contact with someone other than their manufacturer. Some gadgets also store and send recordings from cameras and microphones. The study showed that one camera communicates with 52 unique IP addresses around the world when transmitting data, and one TV establishes communication with 30 different IP addresses. The final recipients of the data are not only the majority of cloud computing providers, such as Akamai, Google or Amazon, but also a variety of marketing firms.

    Researchers also noted that the Internet channels of devices are usually encoded and protected from unforeseen leaks of the full amount of information. However, with the help of these flows, third parties can obtain some data about the algorithms of user behavior in working with equipment. According to Choffnes, people should, if possible, choose models without an Internet connection or read the reviews of security experts about the future purchase.

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