If you didn’t have enough to worry about with the NSA tracking everything you do online and hackers extracting personal data from your smartphone, now you can worry about cybercriminals invading your bathroom and living room. With the advent of Smart TVs and even a Smart Toilet, even your most private moments are vulnerable to prying eyes.
LAXIL, a Japanese toilet manufacturer, introduced the Satis, a toilet with deodorizing capabilities, an automatic seat, a dual-nozzel bidet and Bluetooth capabilities to control the porcelain throne with an Android app. But it appears Satis gave every toilet the same Bluetooth Pin, meaning any person with the Android app can control any Satis toilet.
If the hacker gets close enough, he or she could “cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner. Attackers could cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user.”
Can you imagine having a bidet suddenly activating with your knowledge or intent? Distress, indeed.
More threatening is the revelation at last week’s Black Hat conference that researchers have found ways to take control of Smart TVs. By simply injecting a malicious code via a chat message or a link in the Web browser, the researchers were able to remotely activate the Smart TV’s camera, take control of apps and access any stored information. The hackers can use the TV to spread the malware to other Smart TVs that are in the user’s contacts, according to Mashable.
Hackers are already using a similar technique to hijack the camera on smartphones, and a recent Wall Street Journal article revealed that the NSA is doing the same. It may just be a matter of time before the NSA also uses malware to hack Smart TVs, effectively putting a government camera right in people’s living rooms.
Of course, your toilet and your television will be safe if you just unplug it from the Internet. Maybe some things just don’t need to be connected.
Originally from Northern California, Ryan W. Neal came to New York to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia University. He joined IB Times April 2013, and is a writer...