QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. What can I do to stop potential surveillance via my internet-connected TV or smartphone?
A. Not much if you don’t want to sacrifice the benefits of the device. “Anything that is voice-activated or that has voice- and internet-connected functionality is susceptible to these types of attacks,” said Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. cyberwar operations officer and CEO of the cybersecurity company Dragos. That includes smart TVs and voice-controlled information devices like the Amazon Echo, which can read news, play music, close the garage door and turn up the thermostat. To ensure a connected device can’t spy on you, unplug it from the grid and the internet and remove the batteries, if that’s possible. Or perhaps don’t buy it, especially if you don’t especially require the networked features and the manufacturer hasn’t proven careful on security.
Q. I’m not a high-value target for intelligence agencies. But i still want to protect myself. How?
A. It may sound boring, but it’s vital: Keep all your operating systems patched and up-to-date, and don’t click links or open email attachments unless you are sure they are safe. There will always be exploits of which antivirus companies are not aware until it’s too late. But they don’t come cheap. And most of us are hardly worth it.