As we stumble headlong into the next generation of Web-enabled gadgets, oftentimes we look at what’s “cool” and what’s “innovative” moreso than what’s “secure.” This see-no-evil mentality has encouraged lackadaisical programmers to cut corners in the development of HDTVs, smartphones, and countless other products, which has, in turn, given rise to new avenues for hackers and scam artists.
Recently, San Francisco-based security technology company Mocana attempted to hack a top-of-the line HDTV (the make and model have been withheld to preserve security). What they found was a startlingly low level of protection:
“[Hackers] could put up a fake screen for a site like Amazon.com and then request credit card billing details for a purchase. They could also monitor data being sent from the TV to sites,” reports The New York Times.
Unlike desktop computers, which have been immersed in security threats since the popularization of the Internet, these new and innovative products have not been structured to combat the threat of hackers.
Android smartphones, for example, have a higher-than-normal threat risk due to the fact that their app store is entirely user-controlled and policed. Malicious apps have the potential to cause irreparable damage before they’re even reported to security monitors.
Even smartphone users relying on the more heavily guarded Apple market can find themselves vulnerable to security threats through the hacking of location-based technology and general Web browsing.
Until recently, there hasn’t been a firm answer to what measures can be taken to thwart the hacking of Web-enabled gadgets. In the coming years, however, the public can expect to see a rise in fingerprint and facial scans to help increase protection. Currently, security companies like Symantec are exploring all possibilities to protect personal information. With luck, in the future, we will be able to use all devices with the same confidence as our overly protected desktop computers.