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Consumers should worry about hacking, basic privacy, according to Virginia Tech’s IT security officer

March 8, 2017

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The lack of basic security features in networked appliances is a threat to individuals' security both on the net and in the physical world. Consumers need to ask vendors what is being done to correct this issue

New revelations that foreign and domestic entities can hack into our smartphones, laptops and internet-connected TV’s can be a bit frightening.  How worried should consumers be? Virginia Tech’s Information Technology Security Officer Randy Marchany says it’s simply the reality of the world today. 

“Consumers should be worried about the lack of basic security built into these devices,” said Marchany. “Remember, all of these appliances are basically computers and computers need to be configured securely. Since these devices are connected to the Internet, that means anyone anywhere on the Internet has the ability to connect to those devices.”

Quoting

“Our movements, speech, and images are being collected by devices like smartphones, smart TVs, Fitbits, Amazon Echo, smart refrigerators, HUE Lighting systems, home security systems.  All of these devices have little or no security features enabled.”

“Security experts have been warning manufacturers of these problems for years, but it's been played down. It's only now with an article like the WikiLeaks that the general public is now ‘aware’ of the issue.” 

“The lack of basic security features in networked appliances is a threat to individuals' security both on the net and in the physical world. Consumers need to ask vendors what is being done to correct this issue.”

Background

Randy Marchany has been involved in the computer industry since 1972. He is currently the Virginia Tech Information Technology Security Officer and the Director of the Virginia Tech IT Security Lab.

He is a co-author of the FBI/SANS Institute's "Top 10/20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities" document that has become a standard for most computer security and auditing software.

Read his bio

To secure a print or broadcast interview with Randy Marchany, contact Bill Foy by email at fwill55@vt.edu; or by phone at 540-998-0288 or 540-231-8719.

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