In a world where almost every device connects to the Internet, and life without the web is inconceivable, privacy is a luxury we can no longer afford. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to enjoy everything the Internet has to offer yet still enjoy some privacy?
Recent studies indicate that the sheer number of AI-enabled virtual assistants will surpass humanity by 2021. Wearables, smart-home devices and smart TVs are expanding their share rapidly amid the increasing diversity and versatility of AI. Four years from now, this group alone will count roughly 1.6 billion devices. But the proliferation of smart devices comes at a heavy cost – one we’ve been paying willingly, for the sake of their services: privacy & security.
Digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are constantly listening for user input, and learning, to deliver their invaluable contextual services. Biometric hardware like smart bracelets and smart watches store copious amounts of information about our physiology. Smart TV’s now come equipped with cameras. It only takes a piece of malware like Mirai to make one realize just how easy it is for hackers to grab control of these devices and peek into our private lives.
“The general sense among marketers is that people understand that their data is being used, but we’ve found in our research that people don’t truly understand how data mining works,” according to Joseph Turow, who studies privacy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. “They may realize that one or two pieces of their information are being given out; what they don’t realize is that those one or two data points can be linked with other sources to uncover information they would have never given out in the first place.”
In other words, users are unaware that by giving away different pieces of information to different services, someone with access to that data can connect the dots and make a more complete profile of the user.
Experts warn that privacy challenges will, in fact, worsen as wearables, smart cars, smart home appliances and other members of the IoT family become linked together. Anticipating this trend, Bitdefender created BOX, a central hub that protects an entire household of connected devices, from smart TVs to Wi-Fi thermostats to gaming consoles.
As for smartphones, tablets and laptops, even connected on public networks they are secured as they were at home – protected from malware, data theft, fraud, phishing, spying and online threats. The iOS/Android BOX app keeps users informed on network events and offers access to parental controls. Users can push updates, locate lost devices, perform system tune-ups, even limit international data roaming or mobile plans.
IoT proliferation has the potential to infringe on basic human rights and Internet principles by collecting data with an unprecedented level of detail. Instead of crippling services for the sake of preserving our privacy, BOX works proactively to secure our data and enable smart devices to work as intended.