A blue-toned artistic visualization of digital data shows connected spheres of information to illustrate why data mining protections are vital.

Who’s Gathering What? Our Data Mining Protections for Your Smart Home Systems

Date Posted:

December 28, 2023

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We love smart home systems. And we love the idea of you loving smart home systems and devices worry-free. 

But facts are facts, and the fact is that not all smart systems are secure from threats like data mining. Companies hungry for information absolutely adore that wealth of exploitable data. They engage in a form of surveillance capitalism — a big term for using your personal data to make money.

An international research team has found concerning details about the prevalence of data mining and how it affects your smart home’s security. After all, as smart devices get smarter and more widespread, so do the ways unethical entities can “look” at their owners. 

What does this mean for you? Let’s cover data mining from a high level and outline why avoiding it matters. Then, we’ll tell you how we help safeguard your smart systems with data mining protections.

Note: Here’s the full 2023 study, if you’re interested — it’s comprehensive. You can read a summary here.

[Related: Are Smart Home Devices Secure?]

What Is Data Mining?

The practice of data mining has been around for a while. It’s not inherently a bad thing — it depends on the intent of whoever ends up with the data. 

In simple terms, data mining is the process of discovering patterns, trends and information from large data sets. It involves using techniques and algorithms to extract insights from those data sets. Then, businesses, researchers and policymakers can make decisions and take actions based on those insights. 

For example, healthcare researchers might use mined data to suggest treatment changes if it shows a demographic is at risk. Businesses, on the other hand, often use it for intensely targeted marketing

Smart home systems and devices, which frequently use Internet of Things (IoT) technology, gather countless data points. This could mean your location, your name, your income bracket — practically anything attached to your online presence. And they gather a ton of them.

[Related: A Guide to Room-by-Room Automation for Your Home]

Why Is Your Smart Home Vulnerable to Data Mining?

Return to that IoT technology in your smart home systems. Smart home devices using IoT tech usually run on local networks with standard protocols.

Every time you set up a smart system or device, you put personal data points into the ether. That is, you expose bits of information about yourself and your household that in themselves aren’t particularly risky. 

But the study shows local network protocols can accidentally expose all this information:

Each piece of information alone doesn’t necessarily mark your identity. But all three together form a very personal fingerprint.

An NYU Tandon engineering researcher who helped write the study clarifies

“For comparison, if a person is fingerprinted using the simplest browser fingerprinting technique, they are as unique as one in 1.500 people. If a smart home with all three types of identifiers is fingerprinted, it is as unique as one in 1.12 million smart homes.”

In turn, devious companies use side channels in local network protocols to mine that personal, unique data. Apps, devices and other IoT systems may have permissions in place. But companies can still find and use the information — for whatever reason they find valuable. 

All this occurs without your knowledge.

[Related: What Is an Audiovisual Consultant?]

What Are the Real-Life Risks?

The study’s findings unearth a world of data mining possibilities that allow companies to violate your privacy. Developers, manufacturers and agencies clearly have to take action and actually fix those glaring security gaps.

Without stronger measures in place, smart home data mining can lead to a number of problems:

  • Invasion of privacy
  • Cybersecurity threats
  • Data leaks
  • Data misuse
  • Legal and ethical concerns

Of course you want privacy in your smart home! It’s your tech-rich haven. So, how can your AV installation company make it safer?

The AV Smart Solutions team takes the utmost caution when planning, designing and installing your smart systems. 

[Related: What To Look For in AV Installation Companies]

How We Implement Data Mining Protections

We work diligently to protect your smart home systems from data mining and vulnerabilities. 

First, we strongly avoid using brands that live on data mining. They allow for easy intrusion because manufacturers design them so that you can install them. It seems innocent, but you can leave openings for easy data mining when you set up your own devices. 

Here are a few brands that tend to thrive on gathering your data:

  • Google Nest’s range of products
  • Google Hubs’ multifaceted systems
  • Ring’s smart home security devices
  • Amazon’s suite of smart home devices

Instead, we integrate products that give you direct control via a control processor. That control processor minimizes open connection points. And fewer connection points mean fewer instances for companies to nab your data.

Next, we design your custom smart home systems with security top of mind. We configure any device for the functions you need, but we keep all other access points and communication routes closed.

Finally, we offer you support, resources and advice about the systems your smart home has. Knowledge, both ours and yours, is power! When you know what to watch out for, you’re less susceptible to unscrupulous companies capitalizing on your personal information.

And naturally, we’re here if you have any questions or concerns. We don’t like these dirty dealings any more than you do.

Note: If you’re one of our residential service plan members, you have direct access to our expertise and support. Don’t hesitate to reach out

[Related: Smart Home Systems: Where To Begin?]

Contact AV Smart Solutions for Secure Smart Systems 

We’re not trying to use scare tactics. 

Finding security from data mining can seem like a fruitless effort. So many variables enter the picture, and the real-world consequences are unsettling. 

Your smart home can be secure, or at least as secure as possible, with available technologies and tactics. If you’re not an IT security wiz, your next best bet is working with an AV installation company that knows the score. 

At AV Smart Solutions, we do. We’re passionate about installing the most ironclad smart systems we can. We want you to live fear-free in your smart home and never think twice about data mining.

Get in touch! We’ll offer recommendations, quotes and more. 

Featured image via Pexels

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