The Shared Security Podcast Episode 59 – Amazon Echo, Wifi Router Security, EFF Privacy Badger

This is the 59th episode of the Shared Security Podcast sponsored by Security Perspectives – Your Source for Tailored Security Awareness Training and Assessment Solutions. This episode was hosted by Tom Eston and Scott Wright recorded January 11, 2017 (Happy New Year!). Below are the show notes, commentary, links to articles and news mentioned in the podcast:

Amazon Is Already Winning the Next Big Arms Race in Tech
If you haven’t heard this mentioned in the news (real news, not the fake news) but Amazon’s Echo virtual assistant (Alexa) as been a hot selling device this holiday season. Other recent announcements coming from the CES show in Las Vegas have shown that other manufactures of lots of different products like your “smart” refrigerator to your “Internet enabled” patio lights are all able to be controlled through Amazon’s Echo.  We’ve also heard about some very interesting privacy issues where the device can order things off of Amazon without you really knowing and a host of other privacy related challenges.  Tom recently purchased an Amazon Echo Dot to test…for science of course!

In related news, did you know Google is recording your voice when you use it’s voice “search” service?  Time to check this out for yourself and adjust those privacy settings if necessary.

Carnival Announces Wearable Medallion, a Device that will Transform Cruising
Hmmm…where have we seen this before? Remember Disney “Magic Bands”? The cruise industry is now implementing similar technology on it’s cruise ships.  Is this any different than what Disney has done and what are some of the privacy issues you should know about.

Popular Netgear wifi home router has critical flaw – Now patched
The media sounded the alarm about a “critical” flaw in the most popular wifi router sold on Amazon (Netgear Nighthawk Series). Unfortunately, many of these stories in the media said to stop using your router immediately.  This was not really good advice and the risk of being exploited by this vulnerability would be very rare.  Scott and Tom discuss the ramifications of “alarmist” announcements over security vulnerabilities as well as what you should do if you have one of these routers in your home.

Federal Trade Commission comes down on DLINK for poor security
In a rather unprecedented announcement the FTC in the United States recently issued a lawsuit against DLINK who manufactures home wifi routers for poor security practices. Will this become a trend? If it helps improve the security of these devices we’re all for it (within limits).

EFF’s Privacy Badger 2.0 browser plugin
Shout out to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) who recently released the next version of their Privacy Badger browser plugin.  This plugin blocks ads and prevents known “trackers” from pulling information about you and your browsing habits. Here is a full description from the EFF website:

Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it’s like you suddenly disappeared.

We highly recommend installing and using it to protect your privacy while using the Internet.  You should also check out all the great tools and other projects that the EFF does to fight for your privacy on the Internet.

Please send any show feedback to feedback [aT] sharedsecurity.net or comment below. You can also call our voice mail box at 1-613-693-0997 if you have a question for our Q&A section on the next episode. Be sure to visit our website, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Thanks for listening!

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