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4 Ways Your Smart Thermostat Is Spying On You

smart home digital control functions vector illustration

Can my smart thermostat can spy on me?

There are extreme gaps in the tech world and one camp is rushing to connect devices to the internet to make everything from watches to refrigerators smart.

On the other hand, the second camp fears what it means.

Here are ways you can know if your smart thermostat is spying on you.

Your Smart Thermostat learns your heating and cooling preferences.

smart thermostat
Source: gvec

A lot of people are aware that the Nest thermostat has a cool characteristic. It is very convenient to be in a position to definitely leave the house except manually changing the temperature. Although, It will notify you when you’re away, it also allows you change the temperature whenever you are out.

To sum it up, it optimizes your home’s temperature to meet your needs and save you money. This gives an attacker a lot of information about your habits.

Lastly, a compromised thermostat can also know when you’re out of the house or on vacation. Meanwhile, this information can as well be used for future digital attacks or simply for burglary.

Don’t Always leave your Device on

Source: airbutlerhvac

We will discuss about a 21 year old Grant Hernandez who is an undergraduate security researcher at the University of Central Florida. He hacked the Nest, which is one of the most effective devices on the market. The young scholar added that the USB connection allows him to enter developer mode and attack existing codes while he enters his code and reload. He added there might be something else running in the background.

Furthermore, cyber-attackers know very little that there is a permanent backdoor to Nest`s root filesystem. Also know that the Nest thermostats can even be easily compromised by attackers who are in transit, deployed, or accessible in unsafe locations. 

Lastly, use a customized Linux kernel to remotely control the thermostat and hide botnet software that could turn into a remote attacker`s bridgehead and spy on you.

Your smart thermostat knows your location

Source: ACHR NEWS

The smart thermostat uses the location of your smartphone and the infrared motion sensor built into the smart thermostat to determine if you are at home.

As the smart thermostat is built into smartphones and their available sensors, the app will further use your smartphone`s built-in GPS to find out if you`re at home.

At a time you have the temperature sensors added to the actual thermostat, you may want to take note of something important. This is the fact that the sensors do not have motion sensors and they cannot help with automatic switching.

You never know when your smart thermostat listens to you

Source: the verge

First and foremost, I know it sounds unreal and it is actually true that some of these thermostats have microphones. The device has a privacy mode that you can make active once the thermostat is installed.

Lastly, you can prevent Alexa from continually listening to selected words or sending recorded messages to your provider. Simply tap the microphone icon in the lower right corner of the smart thermostat screen and select turn off voice control. That’s how you handle it.

Summary

We have discussed 4 ways your smart thermostat is spying on you, and we have seen how vulnerable these smart devices can be without having a good defense system or state of the art cybersecurity system in place.

In conclusion, there are so many other forms of threat that can happen to our devices both at work and our homes.

It is expected in situations like these, that effective measures should be executed to ensure a comfortable and secure environment.

Learn more



Neil is a Computer Scientist, Roboticist, and the founder of Simius Technologies Inc.

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