The Internet of Things was just a slogan a few years ago, but now with everything from washing machines to electric toothbrushes online, we truly live in a world that's constantly connected. Privacy advocates have been warning about such a trend for as long as it's been predicted, and not without reason. But one security expert believes it's more important to focus on known issues, and understand what vulnerabilities really look like.
It's only been a year since creditor Equifax announced a massive data breach affecting nearly half the adults in the United States. Since then, we've had to catch up quickly to the new realities of identity theft and online fraud. With the rise of smart speakers like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, some wonder whether we're inviting bad actors into our private spaces. After all, if merchants can create advertising hacks, what's to stop a persistent thief?
Cybersecurity expert Jake Williams tells CNBC not to get too worried. "The level of effort to do it is too high in the vast majority of cases," he said of hacking smart speakers. "Your average American just isn't that interesting."
Data thieves are generally after information they can nab in bulk, and smart speakers don't tend to store your personal data on the hardware itself. Definitely do focus on how you transmit personal and financial data on computers, though. Use a password manager to keep all your logins secure, and consider whether you really want to link up services when asked. You're probably not in danger if you like voice shopping, but it's worth figuring out when and where to be careful.