Smart tech has been making a big splash as of late. Conveniences ranging from your car to your vacuum to your house’s temperature are being developed with automation in mind, not to mention the rise of digital assistants in the 21st century. This technology is being touted as futuristic and beneficial.  Unfortunately, when it comes to keeping your private life private, risk factors increase with each computerized device. When programming these items, security may be the last thing considered. While separately and in mass you may be seeking to simplify your daily life, things can get complicated fast.

The recent driverless car craze, for example, has been dreamed of for several generations, but has only recently been so within reach. Companies like Google, Tesla and even some of the traditional car companies, have been exploring the possibility of manufacturing such vehicles of the future. This excitement has been the cause of some concern for many people interested in cybersecurity, including myself. The concern is that, if a vulnerability were to be found, complete remote control could be given to someone malicious and potentially putting many lives at significant risk. To an extent, this problem is already here.

In 2015, the website called WIRED covered a story of two hackers. These two hackers found a vulnerability in a Bluetooth radio system called UConnect, that many cars use to connect the radio to your phone. This allowed the two hackers to create a hack that could remotely connect to a Jeep Cherokee and take control of things ranging from the speaker, to the brakes and transmission. Fortunately this was immediately alerted to Chrysler by the two hackers and they were able to develop a patch that dealt with this security issue. But if something like this was put into the wrong hands, many lives could have been endangered. This isn’t the only example of these newer technologies being riddled with dangerous vulnerabilities.

Smart homes can be very useful. They allow you to have complete control over your home from pretty much anywhere. This convenience however has significant downsides. When a smart home system is put on a router that isn’t secure, anyone could have access to any device connected in your smart home. This can range from security cameras to your garage door. It gets to the point where the smart home defeats the purpose of having security cameras, if setup improperly.

This became the cause of some problems with one family in Wisconsin. According to Business Insider, a Wisconsin couple claimed to have someone get into their smart home system. They said, the hacker got into their cameras and thermostat and turned up the heat and used the cameras to harass them with loud vulgar music. While this case is fairly tame, demonstrates that systems like this, when implemented without security assurances, are potentially more risk than reward.

At the end of the day, these new technologies won’t be going away. Every new technology has its vulnerabilities, but in our vastly interconnected world, the cost of these vulnerabilities can cost people's lives. This is why, whenever a new technological innovation is created that can be connected to by a device, you need to be sure that it will only allow devices you consider safe. Ignoring these security concerns could cost you your privacy and possibly your physical safety.