Smart Moves to Hack-Proof Your ‘Smart Home’

With innovative and in vogue “smart home” devices, you can control your home’s lighting, temperature, sprinkler system, door locks, TV, even dinner … all with a smartphone app. Maybe that’s why these high-tech household helpers are already in millions of American homes — with predictions that by decade’s end, up to 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet, including those using a home Wi-Fi network. But these gizmos, part of the increasingly popular ‘internet of things’ technology designed to …

Could Someone Hack Your Car?

My parents taught me to drive safely. Back then that meant wearing my seat belt, paying attention to the road and obeying the posted speed limits. Today things are different. Staying safe while driving also includes protecting your car against hackers. It was headline news last year when a pair of security researchers “playing bad guys” successfully used the Internet to disable a car as it traveled on the highway. The ensuing media coverage proved alarming enough to result in …

Can You Hear Me Now?

Internet-connected devices are rapidly becoming commonplace in our daily lives. Smartphones, tablets, televisions, thermostats, cars, video games and even children’s toys now connect to the Internet. Many connected devices contain embedded microphones and cameras that can collect, send and share audio and video data. This creates concerns about the types of information these devices might be collecting and sharing. What’s more, many of them are “always on” — listening and watching day and night, allowing devices to respond to voice …

Are You Ready for the Next Wave of Technology Change?

Digital Readiness Digital readiness refers to what people do with information and communications technology and what they know about the opportunities and risks of using it. It focuses on what technology people have: what it is, how to get it, and how to use it. The issue has become more important as digital networks extend far beyond home computers and phones to include more objects of everyday life such as appliances, cars, thermostats and clothing. This growing “Internet of Things” …

Making the Smart Home a Secure Home

After years of waiting, the “smart home” is finally becoming a reality for many consumers. The idea behind the smart home is to help automate routine tasks and make homes more efficient. New products promising to make the lives of consumers better are hitting the shelves daily. Appliances, toothbrushes, lighting, security systems, and heating/cooling equipment controllable by smartphones or computers are now available. One recent study projects the smart home market worldwide will grow from between 100 million and 200 …

The Promise and Pitfalls of Wearable Technology

It’s been almost impossible to avoid the constant stream of media reports discussing the pending release of the Apple Watch. While pundits delve into details about technical specifications and pricing of the watch, it’s easy to overlook the growing trend toward wearable technology (wearables) and the role this technology may play in the lives of those using it. Some will view these devices as expensive gadgets for tech lovers. Others believe this technology can offer important benefits to consumers, particularly …