It Is Not Your Dream You Are Watched By Your Smart Device

You would never expect anyone on your mobile to be watching you through the camera. However, the irony is, it happens more frequently than you thought.

Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter that your iPhone may still be listening or even watching.

“It’s rare, but it’s not a myth,” said CyberSecure IT Solutions CEO Christian Wartchow.

Beware of Hackers

Wartchow is an IT specialist. He’s worked firsthand with residents in Southwest Florida getting their phones hijacked right here.

“Yes, audio. Not so much for the cameras,’ he said.

One situation was so serious, the individual began arguing back on the other end.

“People then turning on FaceTime Audio and speaking to people through the phone, which really freaked the one individual I’m thinking about, really freaked them out,” Wartchow said.

It can happen by clicking a link, downloading the wrong app or landing on the wrong website.

“That’s clicked and opened and then that launches malware, a virus or even ransomware,” he said.

That’s why Apple added small green and orange dots to the top right corner of the screen of devices in their latest operating system update, iOS 14.

How to know if you are being watched by others?

Hannah Bennet has an iPhone, but never realized the indicators were there.

NBC2 Reporter Gage Goulding: “Did you ever notice that there before?”

Hannah: “Uh, no. Not really.”

The dots tell your important information.

“When you’re talking on the phone, you’ll see an orange light, or if the camera is activated you’ll see a green little dot,” Wartchow explained.

In downtown Fort Myers, intuition of someone watching and listening in on their personal lives was confirmed.

I always have the suspicion,” Donald Olson said. 

Donald and Hannah both admitted they take their phones places where, well, they don’t want to be seen or heard.

Smart Home: Millions of Smart Devices Face Hacking Challenges

Gage: “Would you think twice about taking your phone into the bathroom or shower with you?”
Hannah: “Oh yeah, definitely.”
Gage: “Would you think twice about maybe taking your phone into the bathroom with you?”
Donald: “Sure. I guess I would.”
Gage: “You wouldn’t want somebody to watch you or listen to what you’re doing in there?”
Donald: “Yeah I suppose that would be, that’s kind of a private place.”

Others aren’t that concerned about who is hearing them sing in the shower, or even sees them. 

“I don’t really worry about it. I think a lot of people might be a little paranoid,” said Vincent Lichter. “If somebody sees me naked, then I hope they enjoy it.”

“When they listen, they actually collect data, data from usage,” Wartchow said.

She has always been skeptical of how it works, Hannah Bennet said.

“I feel like whatever I say on my phone will pop up the next day as an ad,” said Bennet.

So what if you see a green or orange dot on your iPhone, so you don’t use any apps to make that happen?

“I’m going to turn your phone off right away,” said Wartchow. “I’d start looking at the usage statistics and usage information when you turn it back on and that’s off.”

For Android devices, the same thing can happen, but the operating system does not have any signs on its screen to warn users.

Additionally, Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices can make life easier, but also listen in when you don’t want them to.

“Having any type of technology now a days is a risk,” Bennent said.

While you might feel at risk, there are ways you can minimize the chance of an unwanted visitor listening or watching you through your smart devices.

Below are several step-by-step tutorials on how you can minimize the risk Using IOS Devices

Apple iPhone/iPod/iPad

You Are Watched By Your Smart Device
  1. Open on the “Settings” app
  2. Scroll down and click on “Privacy”
  3. Click on “Microphone”
  4. Apps that have the green slider “On” have access to your phone’s microphone. Slide
    them to “Off” to disable their permission. 
  5. Go back to “Privacy” 
  6. Click on “Camera”
  7. Apps that have the green slider “On” have access to your phone’s camera. Slide them
    to “Off” to disable their permission. 
  8. Go back to “Settings”
  9. Click on “Siri & Search”
  10. On “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’”, slide the green slider to “Off”

How You Can Minimize the Risk Using Android Devices

Google Home

  1. Open the “Google Home” app 
  2. Click your Profile Picture in the top right corner
  3. Click “Assistant Settings” 
  4. Scroll down to find “Your Data In The Assistant,” click on it
  5. Scroll down to “Audio Recordings”
  6. Click on “On”
  7. Scroll down to “Include Audio Recordings” 
  8. Uncheck the box next to “On”
  9. An information prompt will appear, read the warning before clicking “Stop Saving

How You Can Minimize the Risk Using Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa

  1. Open the “Amazon Alexa” app 
  2. Click “More” in the bottom right corner
  3. Click “Settings”
  4. Then click “Alexa Privacy” 
  5. Click “Manage Your Alexa Data”
  6. Click “Choose How Long To Save Recordings” 
  7. Then click “Don’t Save Any Recordings”
  8. An Information prompt will appear, read the warning before clicking “Confirm”
  9. On the same menu, scroll down to “Help Improve Alexa” 
  10. On “Use of Voice Recordings,” slide the switch to “Off”
  11. Lastly, on “Use Message To Improve Transcriptions,” slide the switch to “Off”

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Hassan Zaka

I am an expert in accounting and possess diverse experience in technical writing. I have written for various industries on topics such as finance, business, and technology. My writing style is clear and simple, and I utilize infographics and diagrams to make my writing more engaging. I can be a valuable asset to any organization in need of technical writing services.

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